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94

Firstly, Mars has a mean distance from the Sun of 1.524 AU, so by the inverse square law the energy it gets from the Sun is about 40% of what the Earth gets. But the main reason that Mars is so cold is that its atmosphere is very thin compared to Earth's (as well as very dry, see below). From Wikipedia Atmosphere of Mars: The atmosphere of Mars is much ...


38

(Much of this echoes what antlersoft says in their answer) For a phone photo through the eyepiece that looks about right to me! The size... the brightness... both are as I expect. What you could try is to use the manual mode of your phone's camera and set the ISO down to minimum (100) and the shutter speed down to something like 1/60s. Take a few shots, ...


34

Forget about magnification. People who know telescopes don't think in terms of magnification. What matters is the angular resolution, or the resolving power: the angular size of the smallest details that you could see in an instrument. Rule of thumb: the resolving power of a telescope with a diameter of 10 cm is 1 arcsecond when using visible light. The ...


30

Stellarium shows the Moon and Mars very close together in the sky tonight (Saturday, 3rd October 2020), so yes, it was probably Mars that you saw. Moon and Mars on 2020/10/03 (Stellarium) Stellarium is a great tool for identifying astronomical objects (and satellites), and is absolutely free. Very rough rules of thumb for identifying planets by eye: Very ...


26

I'm just going to expand and deepen on what the other answers already said. In the following I contrast the atmospheric transmission ($T$) and absorption ($A$, which is $A=1-T$) of Mars and Earth. The Mars plot (top) is from Prof. J. Irwin via this review by P. Read et al. 2015 and the terrestrial data (bottom) is from wikipedia. The plots of $A$ and $1-T$...


24

Lightning may have been detected on Mars, although it currently appears to be rare, and attempts to replicate the 2006 results have failed so far. New research found that the low pressure on Mars might be the reason why lightning is uncommon. The atmospheric pressure on Mars appears to be at a minimum for making lightning, as opposed to just coronal ...


23

"It's believed that the Earth was rotating about once every 5 hours before the theorized collision with a Mars sized coorbiting object referred to as Theia." Almost. Theia did not have to be co-orbiting, just an intersecting orbit. We have no idea what the Earth's spin was before the collision, but it is theorized that the Earth rotation had a 5 hour ...


23

The stars are so immensely far away that to the human eye there would be no noticeable difference. The nearest stars are moving roughly 1.5 arcsecond wrt. the background when viewed from Earth's position with half a year's interval (i.e. half a revolution around the Sun). Mars' orbit is only 50% larger, but the human eye cannot resolve better than roughly ...


20

It's very difficult to get any kind of picture just holding your phone up to the eyepiece, and the picture you posted is overexposed and probably motion-smeared, but other than that it's what you'd expect. Planetary observation is a learned skill; planetary detail is usually very low contrast. Mars is a small target and you have to use lots of magnification,...


18

Our own magnetic field is generated by convection currents in Earth's liquid outer core. A useful summary from Physics.org: Differences in temperature, pressure and composition within the outer core cause convection currents in the molten metal as cool, dense matter sinks whilst warm, less dense matter rises. This flow of liquid iron generates electric ...


17

The most likely candidate would be the Tardigrade. These little guys handle vacuum and radiation just fine. So long as water is provided, according to tests done in LEO the Tardigrade would survive on Mars. Even if they do dehydrate, they spring back to life once water is provided again.


15

We actually have a very good idea of this because the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has been orbiting Mars for over a decade. The MRO is, basically, a spy satellite around Mars and is continually taking high-resolution photos of the surface. It has revisted much of the surface, taking pictures multiple times over the years. As a consequence, we have a very ...


15

Mars does have a greenhouse effect, only somewhat weaker than Earth's. Mars' atmosphere is very dilute, with a with a surface pressure only 0.6% of Earth's. So even if 95% of it is CO2, that's not a lot. However, it is actually a higher absolute abundance of CO2 molecules than on Earth, which only has a CO2 abundance of 0.04% (by volume; e.g. NOAA, ...


15

It looks like the Mariner 9 era. Based on a review paper by Watters et al. ("Hemispheres Apart: The Crustal Dichotomy on Mars"): "The north-south asymmetry ... was clear from the first global image mosaics of Mars returned in the 1970s by Mariner 9 (Mutch et al., 1976) and the Viking Orbiters." Other papers cite a 1973 paper by Hartmann ...


14

This is a very interesting question. Of course, as you noted, you have simplified things quite a bit; there are other factors besides temperature that affect habitability. Regarding Venus, you probably know that Venus is extremely hot at its surface not just because it is closer to the Sun, but because it has a thick CO2 atmosphere and is warmed by the ...


13

I'll add to Wayfaring Stranger's comments. In fact most of the time you would be able to see fewer stars in the night sky of Mars, than in a good dark night sky on Earth, because of dust obscuration. Even in favourable conditions, the optical depth of the Martian atmosphere is usally somewhere between 0.5 and 1 per airmass. (Petrova et al. 2012; Lemmon et ...


13

tl;dr: On Earth, atmospheric molecules scatter blue light more than red. In contrast, on Mars atmospheric, $\mu\mathrm{m}$-sized hematite dust particles happen to give the opposite effect. Scattering theory First a bit of theory. Pretty pictures later. Scattering cross section Scattering of light of wavelength $\lambda$ on particles of radius $r$ may be ...


13

According to the Cambridge Concise History of Astronomy (p 33 of my edition), essentially the Greeks took the (not unreasonable) view that the planets that moved more slowly were further away and were orbiting on larger spheres. That's obviously not the same as suggesting they knew "the right distances" to the planets, merely the order. They did develop a ...


13

Are Tharsis Montes and Hellas Basin a result of the same event? You were not the first to have seen that the Hellas Basin and parts of the Tharsis Rise are roughly antipodal (Peterson 1978, Williams and Greeley 1994). The Tharsis Montes themselves are far too close to the equator to be considered antipodal to the Hellas Basin. The shield volcano Alba Mons ...


13

Berman and Hartman (2002) dated some lava flows of the Athabasca–Marte Valles system at < 20 Ma. Later, Vaucher et al. (2009) dated lava flows of the same region, finding ages even younger in some cases (around 2.5 Ma). In both studies the age estimates are derived from surface morphology (crater counts). In Volcanoes: Global Perspectives, Lockwood & ...


13

Lightning Detected on Mars, 2006 With those dust storms, it's difficult to believe that you would not get sufficient charge separation. At only a few hectopascal pressure, thunder might be hard to hear.


12

Many models shown in books or television show a very populated asteroid belt but in fact the belt is mostly empty. To answer your question, the inclination of the asteroids vary a lot going from 0° to 40° although most off them are in between 0° and 30°; See The orbital element distributions of real and modelled asteroids. So yes it would be 3 dimensional.


12

I looked at the image and annotated it based on what it most likely is: In black is the formation itself. In blue is a depression underneath it. In grey is part of the boundary of what you believed to be the disappeared half. In green is a ridge to the north. In red are several craters. Here's a more likely hypothesis for what this actually is. The ...


11

The effect is called apparent retrograde motion. What happens is that Mars has a 'direction opposite to that of other bodies within its system as observed from a particular vantage point' when this loop occurs. That's a bunch of words that don't mean a lot to me. A picture is worth a thousand clearer words: (Imagine this turned sideways and you get the ...


11

I was on the targeting team for one of the cameras that discovered most of these new impact craters. The reason for the distribution is simply because it's easiest to find "new" impact craters in the dusty regions of Mars. Often what we see is the dark-toned blast zone created by the impact in lower-resolution data, which has a large areal footprint. Then, ...


11

The placement of the center of the map is messed up, but it's nobody's mistake. From chapter 4 of The Surface of Mars: The elevation difference between the two hemispheres offsets the planet’s center of figure from its center of mass by 2.986 km as measured along the polar axis As explained in another answer, the altitude is defined based on Mars' center ...


10

The impact of Phobos, even in one piece (less likely), would be different from Chicxulub. Phobos is probably a little larger than the Chicxulub impactor, but much slower, and comes in almost perfectly tangential. The impact energy would be less than a 10th of the Chicxulub impact, and the energy would be distributed over a large region around the Martian ...


10

The circumstellar habitalbe zone can be defined as the distance range around a star, where the mean temperature of a rotating planet would be between 0 and 100 centigrades, if radiation (heat) received from the star and thermal radiation emitted by the planet form an equilibrium. But that's only a rule of thumb. It has been redefined, and is still disputed. ...


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