Mars, You're So Complicated<p>
Mars Canyon and Volcanoes

By Jessica Santascoy, Feb 4, 2011

Welcome to the NASA Night Sky Network series about the seasons on planets in our solar system! Last time we wrote about Universe Today explains:

Mars has an eccentric orbit, traveling in an elliptical orbit around the Sun. At its closest point, Mars is 207 million km from the Sun, and it gets out to 250 million km at its most distant.This big change in distance during the orbit means that the two hemispheres receive different amounts of sunlight during their summers and winters. Mars is closest to the Sun when its' summer in the southern hemisphere and winter in the north. The temperature fluctuations can be more extreme in the southern hemisphere. Temperatures in the south can be 30°C warmer than the equivalent summers in the north. These changing seasons and different temperatures can cause huge dust storms.

One more fun fact:

Mars has an astoundingly big canyon, that would stretch from California to New York called the Valles Marineris. We'd definitely need a guide to get around that canyon! Find more facts at NASA's Planet Selector and the nine planets website

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Clear skies and happy stargazing!

The NASA Night Sky Network is managed by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific in cooperation with NASA.