NASA shows what sunsets look like on other planets and moons

Brittany A. Roston - Jun 24, 2020, 3:17 pm CDT
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NASA shows what sunsets look like on other planets and moons

NASA has released a new simulation revealing what sunsets look like on other planets and moons, including ones in our solar system. Each simulation is based on data about the planet or moon’s atmosphere, according to the space agency, which includes simulations of Earth’s sunsets (including on hazy days) for comparison. Uranus, Mars, Titan, and Venus are among the planets and moons featured in the simulation.

A planet’s sunset will look certain ways based on its atmosphere — you could get increasingly deep-blue colors like on Earth, or more reddish, greenish, or gray colors, depending on where you look. This is caused by sunlight filtering through the atmosphere, where things like helium and hydrogen will absorb certain wavelengths while allowing others to pass through.

The computer model that simulates the sunsets was created by NASA planetary scientist Geronimo Villaneuva, the space agency said in its unveiling of the sunsets. The simulations show what the gradual change in the evening sky would look like on these planets from the perspective of someone located on them.

In some cases, the simulations include a ‘halo’ around the planets that represents the appearance of sunlight scattered by particles found in clouds. Colors vary based on the planet — Uranus, for example, has a brighter blue color compared to Earth’s darker hues, whereas Mars has a tan-colored appearance that gets progressively more brown and Titan, a moon, is a rusty reddish-brown shade.

The simulations have been added to the Planetary Spectrum Generator tool used by scientists to simulate how sunlight moves through the atmospheres of various celestial bodies. If you’re not interested in the technical aspects and simply want to watch a relaxing alien sunset, check out the video below:


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