Home Page Science Frontiers

No. 12: Fall 1980

Issue Contents

Other pages

Other Interesting Sites











Ephemeral Lines On Mars

At first, the close-up Mariner and Viking photos of the Martian surface seemed to dispose of the famous "canals." Few permanent linear features were discovered -- certainly nothing like the complex grid of straight lines sketched and photographed by Percival Lowell. Lowell may be vindicated yet, for at least one sharp, dark line has been photographed by a Viking Orbiter during three Martian springs just north of the great volcano Arsia Mons. Called a "weather wave," this line appears only in the spring when Lowell's canals darkened. This year, a second long line, slightly curved, joined up with the first line at a triangular junction looking suspiciously like one of Lowell's "oases."

(Anonymous; "Rare Martian Weather Wave -- with a Kink," Science News, 118: 7, 1980.)

Comment. Could it be that the notorious Martian canals are atmospheric features that come and go? For more on the history of the Martian canals and recent observations, see AMO1 in our Catalog: The Moon and the Planets. This volume is described here.

From Science Frontiers #12, Fall 1980. 1980-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987