We’re all familiar with the glorious glow of sunset on Earth, but other worlds experience very different sunsets, as a series of NASA simulations show.
If you were to visit Uranus around sunset, you’d see a gorgeous palette of blues as the sun dipped away below the horizon, ultimately melding into turquoise. “This blue-green color comes from the interaction of sunlight with the planet’s atmosphere,” said NASA in release this week.
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The simulations come from planetary scientist Geronimo Villanueva, who’s working on modeling the atmosphere of Uranus in case NASA decides to send a probe to take a close look at the enigmatic ice giant planet. Villanueva tested out the computer modeling technology by generating sunsets.
Villanueva’s work is presented as two videos, one giving an all-sky view as if looking through a camera lens and another showing what it would look like if you were on the surface and engulfed in the sunset.
The videos let us experience a regular Earth sunset, a hazy Earth sunset and sunsets for Venus, Mars, Uranus and Titan, a fascinating moon of Saturn. NASA is working on the Dragonfly mission to Titan, which involves an ambitious plan to fly a rotorcraft on the moon.
For another perspective on a Mars sunset, check out this view from NASA’s InSight lander in 2019. That’s the thing about sunsets on other worlds: They are both alien and familiar.