What the hell is this? (Image to the left from story.) Excerpt:
A mysterious haze high above Mars has left scientists scratching their heads.
The vast plume was initially spotted by amateur astronomers in 2012, and appeared twice before vanishing.
Scientists have now analysed the images and say that say the formation, stretching for more than 1,000km, is larger than any seen before.
Writing in the journal Nature, the researchers believe the plume could be a large cloud or an exceptionally bright aurora.
However, they are unsure how these could have formed in the thin upper reaches of the Martian atmosphere.
The Nature story can be found here , behind a paywall for the full story.
History Channel nutbars notwithstanding, this will certainly turn out to be a natural phenomenon. But this is one of those moments in science that’s exciting – when you look up and the first thing that comes to mind is “what the hell is that?”
The challenge then becomes finding out what the hell it is.