Scientists had given up hope of ever seeing a phenomenon on Mars until NASA's Perseverance rover discovered it.
When conditions are ideal, ice crystals in the atmosphere on Earth can bend sunlight to give the impression of a bright spot or halo surrounding the sun
A comparable optical trick has also long been believed to be possible on other planets by scientists.
But despite years of robotic explorers on Mars' surface taking millions of pictures of the skies, scientists had yet to spot any indication of a solar halo.
Mark Lemmon, a planetary scientist at the nonprofit Space Science Institute, said,
"Perseverance really shocked us with some of the photographs that we acquired back in December."
Planetary scientist Mark Lemmon spoke to Space.com on behalf of the Boulder-based nonprofit Space Science Institute.