Mars dust storm alert

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    As of September 23 a regional dust storm is active along Valles Marineris. Observations are now being made from the longitude of Australia and Japan. Activity began a few days earlier in Chryse. We are not quite yet at the seasonal limit for global storms to begin, so this event may in principal become large, but my initial guess is that although it will develop further it will remain a regional rather than a global event. Several similar events have occurred in recent years, and the 2020 November storm, described in an interim report last year in the Journal, is a good example. A full report on the global storm of 2018 is appearing in the October issue.

    Please send me any observations directly, and watch out for secondary cores appearing around Daedalia, Meridiani Sinus, Hellas, etc.

    Richard McKim, Director of the Mars Section


    Here is an update. I had an email this evening from Makoto Adachi just after 18.00UT, the local time in Japan being just after 2.00 a.m. He had just come indoors from the telescope to report upon the expansion of the storm. It has definitely expanded to the south, and Aurorae Sinus is now hidden by dust.

    Richard McKim


    The dust storm continues as an impressive large regional event, and can now be observed at the terminator by sufficiently determined UK observers in the pre-dawn hours. If it continues for long enough, its western end will be even better placed in a few days’ time. I will be happy to receive and comment upon observations sent to me direct by email.

    Richard McKim

    Paul G. Abel

    I got a reasonable view of the western end of the dust storm last night. It is interesting that Argyre I and Campi Phlegraei were very bright and the whole region looked like a pseudo SPC. Evidence of dust can be seen in Eyrthraeum and Solis Lacus. It will be interesting to watch how the storm evolves and changes the albedo features. UK observes can examine the regions effected over the next few weeks.


    John Sussenbach

    30 September 2022 Mars at poor seeing. Note several dust storms over Solis Lacus and Mare Australe.

    3 October 2022 Mars at fair seeing. Extensive dust storms over Solis Lacus, Argyre and Mare Australe. Remarkable is alsoi gthe dust accumulation in Vallis Marineris.


    I am glad to see observers following this up. We did not have as many observations from the UK and Europe this time as I would have liked. But the western end of the storm, whose development we might have followed better, was decaying while the eastern part developed vigorously. The latter end was well observed on nearly every date from Japan, with some good observations on a few dates from Australia too. In America, observers could watch only the eastern limit of the dust as it appeared over Hellas (at the morning limb) in recent days. The storm closely followed the pattern of the large regional event of 2020 November, described in great detail in the Section blog for that year, with new cores forming in similar locations and ultimately a large dust cloud spilling over the boundaries of Hellas marking the eastern end. The pattern of fallout is however different at first glance, with the apparent boundaries of Argyre much enlarged. The small dust core imaged by John at Gallinaria Silva (just west of Solis Lacus) is the sort of phenomenon that continually renews this variable albedo feature.

    Richard McKim

    Peter Tickner

    Mars in reasonable ‘seeing’ last night. These are three images taken at 25 minute imtervals between 00:58 UT and 01:53 UT.


    Paul G. Abel

    Two drawings I made on the 1st – 2nd October in average seeing. The western end of the dust storm can be seen with dust in Argyre, Erythraeum, Solis Lacus, Ophir and Candor.

    John Sussenbach

    I posted on 3 October 2022

    two Mars images of 30 September and 3 October 2022 with extended dust storms. I forgot my 12 September 2022 image with the Syrtis Major face, where also extended dust storms are detectable. I herewith post all three of them.

    David Basey

    I managed to get an image of Mars in the early hours of October 7th battling a quite blustery wind.

    By chance I had an image from the end of August, pre dust storm, at nearly the same central longitude. The two are placed side by side here for a before and after comparison.

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