Photographed by an amateur astronomer, a large cloud engulfing a region on Mars has experts amazed in this never-before-seen event.
Wayne Jaeschke was busy processing his images of the Martian planet when he noticed a strange feature. He had captured images of a shockingly large cloud that plumed over the Martian landscape, happening at around 2:30 GMT, March 20.
Deemed the 'terminator projection' by Richard McKim, Director of the BAA Mars Section, the cloud has been dangling over the region of Terra Cimmerium. Data is scarce, as fog reportedly soon rolled over the sky, obscuring the view of Mars.
Footage shows the cloud moving with the planet, so the possibilities of dust or a lens malfunction are ruled out.
Explanations for the cloud are unsure and numerous thus far. Ranging from a meteor impact, dust storms, an aurora, to even the possibility of a volcanic eruption. No volcanic activity has ever been observed on Mars except for lava flows that have occurred in the past 2 million years, so if that were the case then this would be the first Martian volcanic activity ever seen.
NASA has its interest piqued with the cloud as well, and plans to observe the anomaly with the Mars Odyssey spacecraft, capable of taking pictures in both visible and infrared lighting.
"Our atmospheric researchers are pretty excited about the possibility of not only getting a good look at the cloud structures, but also their temperatures." Jonathon Hill, an astronomer at Arizona State University, told MSNBC.com.
The cloud is diminishing as time goes on, but new images have surfaced from other dates that shine new insight on this phenomenon. The hunt for the answer continues for the mysterious Martian cloud.
The animated footage of the Martian cloud can be seen here.