A European spacecraft has detected a distinct green glow around Mars, making it the first time that the phenomenon has been spotted on a planet beyond Earth.

The glow comes from oxygen atoms, which is present in the atmosphere of Mars, while interacting with sunlight, the European Space Agency (ESA) said.

This green glow has now been detected for the first time at Mars by the ESA’s ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO), which has been orbiting Mars since October 2016.

“…this emission has been predicted to exist at Mars for around 40 years – and, thanks to TGO, we’ve found it,” Jean-Claude Gérard, one of the researchers who spotted the glow said.

Jean-Claude and colleagues were able to spot this emission using a special observing mode of the TGO.

(Photo Courtesy: European Space Agency)