Solar eclipses are a pretty big deal back here on Earth and, when we get the opportunity to see something like that from another planet like Mars, it’s even more so. The Perseverance Rover’s Mastcam-Z captured just such a sight as Mars moon Phobos going across the sun which only lasted about 40 seconds.
For those of you that may not know, Mars has two moons, Phobos and Deimos, with the former being 157 times smaller than our own moon according to JPL. The other Martian moon is even tinier than that.
While the photos themselves aren’t the first time such an event was captured, it is the highest framerate ever and most zoomed-in according to NASA who are celebrating the shots. Dedicated to studying the impact of Martian moons like Phobos on the surface of the Red Planet, Perseverance is a major upgrade over missions in the past.
Mastcam-Z team member and operator Rachel Howson of Malin Space Science Systems in San Diego told NASA of the pictures’ clarity, “I knew it was going to be good, but I didn’t expect it to be this amazing.”
Planetary astronomer with the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado Mark Lemmon said, “You can see details in the shape of Phobos’ shadow, like ridges and bumps on the moon’s landscape…You can also see sunspots. And it’s cool that you can see this eclipse exactly as the rover saw it from Mars.
You can check it out over on YouTube for yourself.
If you missed our coverage of Hubble’s recent anniversary and comet discovery, you can read those articles here and here.
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