Chandra X-ray image of Mars
Credit: NASA/CXC/MPE/K.Dennerl et al.

Martian X-ray

The image above is the first ever view of the planet Mars in X-radiation. It was obtained by the Chandra X-ray Observatory at a time when the planet was close to earth and close to the sun, when the planet's X-ray emission should have been its brightest. Chandra clearly detected the emission from the planet, though the emission's actually rather weak - comparable to the X-ray power of about ten thousand medical X-ray machines. The X-ray emission from the planet is thought to be produced by interactions of the Sun's X-rays with the thin Martian atmosphere.

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Each week the HEASARC brings you new, exciting and beautiful images from X-ray and Gamma ray astronomy. Check back each week and be sure to check out the HEAPOW archive!

Page Author: Dr. Michael F. Corcoran
Last modified November 17 2002