Hubble Space Telescope imaging polarimetry of Mars during the 2003 opposition

Yu Shkuratov, M. Kreslavsky, V. Kaydash, G. Videen, J. Bell, M. Wolff, M. Hubbard, K. Noll, A. Lubenow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


We report results of polarimetric imaging observations of Mars with the Hubble Space Telescope during the 2003 opposition. Through careful calibration, the observations with the ACS camera allow measurements of the polarization degree with an absolute accuracy better than 0.5% and detection of features with polarization degree contrast as small as 0.2%. The general distribution of linear polarization parameters over the Mars disk and their dependence on phase angle and wavelength are well explained qualitatively by a combination of scattering separately by the martian surface and atmosphere. We have discovered transient polarization phenomena interpreted as clouds that are best observed in ultraviolet light. These clouds are optically thin but strongly polarizing, and their origin may be related to atmospheric ice condensation processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Mars atmosphere
  • Polarimetry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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