Clouds - False Color

Scaled Image

Image Credit: NASA/JPL/ASU

About this image

The THEMIS VIS camera contains 5 filters. The data from different filters can be combined in multiple ways to create a false color image. These false color images may reveal subtle variations of the surface not easily identified in a single band image. Today's false color image shows part of Margaritifer Terra just east of Ares Vallis. If you look closely at the bottom of the image, you will see spots of purple and yellow, with similar 'shapes'. These features are not image artifacts. These are clouds. When this image was collected there were high altitude ice clouds being blown across the sky, moving fast enough to reach a different location between the time each filter was collected. Color VIS images are typically the only image type where ice clouds can be identified.

The THEMIS VIS camera is capable of capturing color images of the Martian surface using five different color filters. In this mode of operation, the spatial resolution and coverage of the image must be reduced to accommodate the additional data volume produced from using multiple filters. To make a color image, three of the five filter images (each in grayscale) are selected. Each is contrast enhanced and then converted to a red, green, or blue intensity image. These three images are then combined to produce a full color, single image. Because the THEMIS color filters don't span the full range of colors seen by the human eye, a color THEMIS image does not represent true color. Also, because each single-filter image is contrast enhanced before inclusion in the three-color image, the apparent color variation of the scene is exaggerated. Nevertheless, the color variation that does appear is representative of some change in color, however subtle, in the actual scene. Note that the long edges of THEMIS color images typically contain color artifacts that do not represent surface variation.

Please see the THEMIS Data Citation Note for details on crediting THEMIS images. 


Image ID: 
V85890005 (View data in Mars Image Explorer)
2021-04-25 11:47
Tue, 2022-01-04
256 pixels (18 km)
3792 pixels (272 km)
0.071819 km/pixel
0.0722663 km/pixel


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