NASA'S Partner Ashima Research Miscalculates Martian Sunsets

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Their math is bad enough to catch God's attention, but they depend on an ignorant public to get away with this nonsense. 3/25/2013

NASA has now enjoyed several successful unmanned landings on Mars, so it should be relatively easy for it and the partners it depends upon to calculate the length of day with sunrise and sunset times at any given site. Click HERE to watch a sunset as seen on Mars from our rover Opportunity on November 4 and 5, 2010. But as will be explained below, lately we are seeing not only nonsense weather reports from the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Rover Curiosity Remote Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS) Team, but even obviously wrong sunrise and sunset times (courtesy of REMS Team partner Ashima Research). These mistakes are, I believe, indicative of the fact that NASA’s weather portrait of Mars is fatally flawed. 

Figure 1 above: Torah Code matrix based on the axis term ASHIMA RESEARCH. The insert picture on the left is before sunset on November 9, 2010 when there was a partial eclipse of the sun by the Martian moon Phobos. The insert on the right shows sunset on Mars (November 4 to 5, 2010). The statistical calculation below on Table 1 shows odds against a matrix this strong were about 74,620 to 1.

OK. I admit that Torah Code attacks on the credibility of Ashima Research are of limited value because there still is no universally accepted method for statistical analysis of the matrix presented. My method shows the statistical value for all a-priori terms shown on Figure 1, but it doesn't account for terms sought but not found. For example, there was about 1 chance in 19 to have sunset somewhere on the full matrix. But the combined odds leave out mention of the fact that sunrise was not found on the matrix. What is important in this article is not the Torah matrix (which, for the sake of interest, is generally given at the opening of all topics covered on this site), but rather the math below which shows that Ashima Research continues to provide a disservice to the public by publishing faulty data about Mars, particularly with respect to sunrise and sunset times.

 

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.

                                                      George Bernard Shaw

INTRODUCTION.

       Perhaps I'm unreasonable, but if humanity is ever to land on Mars and colonize it, we must first make it widely known that the portrait of Mars painted by NASA, JPL, the Remote Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS) Team for the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover Curiosity, and Ashima Research is simply wrong. It doesn’t explain the weather plainly seen. We must expose why they are wrong, and find the motivation for disinformation to ensure that the enemies of progress are stopped cold. This article explores the easiest to prove aspects of disinformation - sunrise and sunset times at MSL. Information about problems with MSL winds and relative humidity reports are is covered on my son's site at http://davidaroffman.com/photo4_27.html. Of course, our full 513- page report refute NASA's pressure conclusions. That, and related PowerPoint presentations can be accessed at http://davidaroffman.com/catalog_1.html and at http://www.arkcode.com/photo2_3.html.

       This report's conclusion represents the opinion of Barry S. Roffman. It's based on research begun in conjunction with my son, David, who in part due to disgust over the way Mars research has been conducted in the United States, has left the field of space physics; and moved on to high energy physics. However, after a lot of nagging, I did get him to apply his knowledge to check the results that I derived for estimating the length of Martian daylight. His results, presented below on Table 3, are remarkably similar to what I derived by an entirely different technique. 

Figure 2.

1. SUNRISE, SUNSET, SUNRISE, SUNSET, SWIFTLY FLOWS THE DISINFO. Each obvious error leads us to another, laden with the Government's true fear. With the exception of MSL Sol 56, for seven months now Ashima Research has published the daily MSL sunrise time as 6 am and the daily sunset time as 5 pm (11 hours of daylight, 13 of darkness). There is never a day with only 11 hours of sun up at 4.59 degrees South where MSL sits. As mentioned earlier, my method was developed first (just to see if the 11 hour figure so close to the equator) ever made any sense), so it will be discussed first. If you look at Ashima's report on Figure 2 (at the equinox) you will see that the sunrise/sunset data constitute 25% of their daily reports. They have been contacted by me on numerous occasions about this repeated error, yet they persist in publishing pure garbage. See Table 3 for a better approximation of MSL sunrise and sunset times.
     My initial calculation was based on the following arguments. A reasonable approximation of actual sunrise and sunset times at the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) is based on the following initial assumptions: (1) Tilt of Earth’s axis = 23.44°. (2) Tilt of the Martian axis = 25.19°. The difference is 1.75°. (3) The latitude of MSL is 4.59° S. (4) For purposes of calculating how the length of Martian day light varies with its position in its orbit around the sun, because the Martian axis is tilted an extra 1.75°, the effective latitude of MSL for purposes of comparison with Earth will be 4.59° + 1.75° = 6.34° S. (5) Local time at MSL is based on a longitude of 0°. While Table 2 shows the local sunrise times of 4.59° S, the times offered for 6.34° S are a better approximation of what is seen at MSL. Earth’s day light was derived from a calculator at http://www.satellite-calculations.com/Satellite/Sunrise_and_sunset.htm.

       The entering arguments were for both 4.59° S and 6.34° S, with length of daylight displayed for both latitudes and emphasis on 6.34° S. It is further assumed that local apparent noon is half way through the day length, and that therefore local sunrise occurs at a time that corresponds to local apparent noon minus half the daylight while local sunset occurs at a time corresponding to local apparent noon plus half the daylight hours. From these assumptions it can quickly be seen that in contrast to disinformation published by Ashima Research in conjunction with the Remote Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS) Team employed by NASA/JPL for publishing all weather data gathered by MSL; the length of the day does indeed vary from their constant 13 hours of night time and 11 hours of day light with a continuing sunrise at 6 am and sunset at 5 PM. By my method the shortest daylight will be about 11 hours 45 minutes. By my son's better method the shortest day was 11 hours 43.8 minutes long. This occurs for several days on either side of Ls 90 around February 7, 2014. The longest daylight by my method is about 12 hours 29 minutes, but by my son's more accurate method it was 12 hours 19 minutes long. This occurs for several days around Ls 270 which occurred on February 26, 2013. While there are many days when sunrise will occur near 6 am as Ashima shows from August 22, 2012 to December 31, 2012 (it was at 6 am August 26 to 27, 2012), sunset never occurs as early as 5 pm. The earliest sunset will be about 5:52 pm around Ls 90.

       That Ashima/REMS Team and JPL have been so irresponsible in publishing this basic information is merely the entering argument in our case that the NASA/JPL Emperor has no clothes, and that all pressure data published by NASA/JPL since the Vikings have landed is totally false. Our full case for this is made in our report, HIGHER THAN ADVERTISED MARTIAN AIR PRESSURE and throughout this web site. However, while our report requires an open mind and study of all data acquired during an intensive 3.5 year audit of Viking lander and other pressure data, nowhere is the case easier to make that the data spoon-fed to the media and the public is utter nonsense than with the sunrise and sunset times put out by Ashima. With this data and all the rest of the data that we present, I ask my readers to contact their elected leaders with the purpose of starting an inquiry into the many facts that were published indicating either gross incompetence or a deliberate cover-up of the real pressures on Mars. The primary purpose of my research efforts is to spur serious funding for manned missions to Mars and to ensure that any evidence uncovered having a bearing on a history of advanced life forms there will published in an honest and unclassified manner.

Table 2 - Calculations by Barry Roffman's crude estimate technique.

THE MOST ACCURATE CALCULATION BY DAVID A. ROFFMAN.

 The first step is to specify the latitude, φ. For purposes of my calculation, the latitude used was the actual latitude of the MSL on Mars, namely 4.59° South (written as -4.59). Next the declination (δ) must be calculated: δ = arcsin((sin(25.19)*sin(λsun)).  The required input is the Ls, which is λsun. The hour angle is then H = arccos((SIN(-.17) - SIN(φ)*SIN(δ))/(COS(φ)*COS(δ))).  This output must be in degrees.  The text speaks of calculating the solar transit (local noon).  However, it also notes that the sunrise and sunset times are the local noon time -/+ 1.027491*H/360.  By taking the equations for sunrise and sunset times (the actual formulae for the Julian dates are irrelevant as they share a common term that will be canceled) and subtracting the sunrise from the sunset one, a number is obtained.  This is the time interval between the sunset and sunrise times, and is hence the length of day.  The length of day is: 2*1.027491*H/360.  Multiply by 24 to get hours.

Issues considered by Barry Roffman in refining the sunrise sunset calculations. If you look at the part of Figure 3 that shows the sole exception to Ashima’s reports about 13 hour nights and 11 hour days (Sol 56 on October 2, 2012) you can get an idea of how difficult that it was for Ashima to nail down sunrise and sunset times at MSL. Was their estimate that sunrise would occur at 5:31 am and sunset at 5:09 pm correct for that day? No. That amounts to 11 hours 38 minutes of daylight. In accordance with my son's calculation, that would equate to a sol with about 12 hours 1 minute 41 seconds of daylight when the planet was at Ls 181.2. This would be only three days after the southern hemisphere had just left the winter and entered the spring. At the equinox we expect daylight and hours after daylight to be close to 12 hour each. My cruder method indicated 12 hour 7 minutes of daylight for Sol 56, so there was a 5 minute 19 second difference between our methods (amounting to a little less than a 3 minute disagreement for sunrise and sunset), but a 23 minute error for daylight by Ashima, whose error grew to over 1 hour 19 minutes of daylight at Ls 270.

       As an Orthodox Jew, I watch sunset times very closely throughout the year because it affects when we begin the Sabbath. I know from experience that the days are not equal where I live at the “equinox,” nor does the earliest Sabbath come at the winter solstice, nor does the latest Sabbath some at the summer solstice. For example, in Washington, D.C. in 2013 the vernal equinox occurs on March 20 but the length of day then is actually 12 hours 9 minutes. It will be 12 hours 1 minute long on March 17 (and 11 hours 59 minutes long on March 16). The autumnal equinox occurred on September 22, 2012, but the length of day then was actually 12 hours 8 minutes. It was 12 hours long on September 25, 2012. We when we look at the equinoxes on Mars, we must be careful to not confuse them with 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of the sun down. However, we would expect them to be close to 12 hours each. The problem with the equinox in Washington is discussed at http://www.wjla.com/blogs/weather/2012/09/autumnal-equinox-equal-hours-of-daylight-darkness-or-not--16735.html. Of particular note is the following:

Sunrise: 6:56 a.m.  Sunset: 7:04 p.m..  So if there isn't equal parts of daylight and darkness on Saturday, why is it the equinox?  The day we have 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness actually falls on Tuesday, Sept. 25.  Sunrise: 6:59 a.m.  Sunset: 7:00 p.m.   Shouldn't Tuesday be the autumnal equinox?

Well, we have the atmosphere to thank for this oddity.  Also, the definition of sunrise and sunset.  Sunrise occurs the moment the tip of the sun can be seen on the horizon and sunset is the last minute the sun can be seen before it dips below the horizon.  Also, keep in mind our atmosphere refracts, or bends, light, which makes it appear as if the sun is rising or setting earlier. 

The true equinox occurs when the center of the sun's disk crosses the celestial equator and this occurs at 10:59 a.m. EDT on September 22.  At the same time the equinox occurs in D.C., it occurs across the globe.

       So we have two slightly complicating factors, although the sun subtends less of an angle from Mars than it does from Earth. However, Mars also turns about 37 minutes slower than Earth does each day. This leads to a question of how to measure time on Mars. When we performed an extensive audit of Viking lander pressures and temperatures for our Report, we used the Viking Project time scheme of 25 time bins per Martian sol, each with about 59 minutes in them. However, for purposes of times quoted in my article, I assume 24 hour on Mars, with each hour having 60 minutes but with each minute having a greater duration than on Earth (each Mars second will be about 1.02583333 Earth seconds). The goal here is for a sense of proportionality. So 12 hours and 10 minutes of daylight in this scheme will actually be equal to about 5.5 seconds longer than on Earth.

       The bottom line on the issue of Sol 56 on Mars is this. MSL landed close to the equator (4.59° South). Each degree of latitude change in Mars is only about 59 km. So that's just 270.81 km (169.25 miles) from the equator. Although the tilt of Mars' axis is 1.75° more than Earth's, this will not be a significant factor around the solstices so close to the equator. The length of the Martian day this close to the solstice at Ls 181.2 will be close to 12 hours. Obviously, this is also true for the day before and after Sol 56, when Ashima reported 13 hours of night for each sol as it did for all other sols until at least Sol 222 on March 23, 2013.

Table 3 - Precide daylight calculations by David Roffman with comparisons to Barry's technique.

Understanding where Mars is in its orbit. The solar longitude Ls is the Mars-Sun angle, measured from the Northern Hemisphere spring equinox where Ls=0. Ls=90 thus corresponds to summer solstice, just as Ls=180 marks the autumn equinox and Ls=270 the winter solstice (all relative to the northern hemisphere). In trying to understand where Mars is in its orbit, it’s important to know that while all Martian months involve a change of 30 degrees, there is a large variation in number of days in each of the 12 months there, and also a large variation in angular speed around the sun (see Figure 3 and Table 2 below). In working up estimates for the length of any given day I used Table 2. This allowed me to project within a day or 2 over the Martian year where the planet would be, so that I could compare the length of day on Mars with a similar position in Earth’s orbit.  Small errors were introduced where the daily rate of change in Ls was not quite the monthly average shown in the last column of Table 2.

 

TABLE 4 – THE MARTIAN MONTHLY CALENDAR

MARS

MONTH

END SOL

START SOL

DAYS

Degrees per month

ΔLs Degrees

per Day

1

61

0

61

30

0.491803

2

127

61

66

30

0.454545

3

193

127

66

30

0.454545

4

258

193

65

30

0.461538

5

318

258

60

30

0.5

6

372

318

54

30

0.555556

7

422

372

50

30

0.6

8

468

422

46

30

0.652174

9

515

468

47

30

0.638298

10

562

515

47

30

0.638298

11

613

562

51

30

0.588235

12

669

613

56

30

0.535714

 

While the slightly greater tilt of the Martian axis was not much of a factor around the equinoxes (Month 1, Sol 1; and Month 7, Sol 373), the tilt does make a significant difference at the solstices (Month 3, Sol 193; and Month 10, Sol 515). Note that aphelion (when Mars is furthest from the sun) and perihelion (when Mars is closest to the sun) does not correspond to the start of any Martian month. The next perihelion for Mars will be on December 12, 2014 which on the Martian calendar is Month 9, Sol 485, Ls 250.7. It will then be 1.38 AU from the sun. The next aphelion for Mars will be on January 2, 2014 which on the Martian calendar is Month 3, Sol 151, Ls 70.6. It will then be 1.67 AU from the sun. For more detailed information, see Martian Orbital Parameters HERE.

Figure 3: Except for Sol 56 on October 2, 2012, Ashima claims that all Martian sunrises for MSL are at 6 am, and all sunsets are at 5 pm.

Figure 3 above shows the most significant aspects of Ashima's day length folly. We maintain a full record of their errors at http://davidaroffman.com/photo3_2.html (Sols 15 to 111) and at http://davidaroffman.com/photo3_3.html (Sols 112 and on to the present).