Science

Curiosity watches as Mars' two moons eclipse the Sun

Curiosity watches as Mars' two moons eclipse the Sun”

There's something completely sublime about watching solar eclipses from the surface of another planet, as showcased in these new videos captured by NASA's Curiosity rover.

Deimos, the smaller of the duo, swung by on March 17. Then, on March 25, Curiosity captured an indirect glimpse of an eclipse.

"Solar eclipses have been seen many times by Curiosity and other rovers in the past", NASA says.

The first series of shots was snapped on March 17 this year, as Deimos transited the Sun.

The two Martian moons Phobos and Deimos both passed in front of the sun in late March - but, each being only a few miles across at most, the transit didn't exactly turn day to night.

Phobos is only 7 miles across and Deimos a mere 1.5 miles wide; truly paltry compared to Earth's moon, which is about 1,079 miles across.

The eclipses were captured by the solar filters on the Curiosity's Mast Camera (Mastcam) that allows it to stare directly at the Sun. The Martian moon Phobos's orbit is nearly directly over its equator whereas our moon, on the other hand, is in a tilted orbit, which makes the Earth, sun, and moon not line up as very often. The transits will help scientists understand the unusual orbits of the Red Planet's two oddly-shaped moons.

Curiosity Rover's official Twitter account @MarsCuriosity posted GIFs of the eclipses.

The moon's orbit is also gradually shrinking at a rate of about 6.5ft (two metres) every century. The rover's view of the Martian horizon at sunset showed the sky suddenly darkening, as the bigger and closer moon Phobos swept overhead and temporarily dimmed the setting sun's light.

Observing solar eclipses help researchers fine-tune their understanding of each moon's orbit around Mars, NASA said.

In addition to capturing each moon crossing in front of the Sun, one of Curiosity's Navigation Cameras (Navcams) also observed the shadow of Phobos on March 25. The rover was designed, developed and assembled at JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

Before the Spirit and Opportunity rovers landed in 2004, there was much higher uncertainty in the orbit of each moon, said Mark Lemmon of Texas A&M University, College Station, a co-investigator with Curiosity's Mastcam.

Mr Lemmon said: "More observations over time help pin down the details of each orbit". "Eclipses, sunrises and sunsets and weather phenomena all make Mars real to people, as a world both like and unlike what they see outside, not just a subject in a book".



Like this

loading...
loading...

Latest


08 April 2019
‘Smallville’ actress Allison Mack pleads guilty in sex trafficking case
Mack is accused of coercing two of her "slaves" into having sex with Raniere, for which she received financial benefits. Mack was a prominent member of the group during the time the TV series Smallville was filmed in and around Vancouver .

08 April 2019
Redmi Note 7 Pro, Note 7 go on sale today
The smartphone will come to India in two variants with 3GB of RAM with 32GB storage and up to 4GB of RAM with 64GB storage. Xiaomi is also hosting a a "Play and Win" game wherein Mi Fans can win coupons and prizes such as Poco F1 and Mi Band 3.

08 April 2019
Sarri admits being fan of Chelsea reject Rice
The midfielder has made 42 appearances across all competitions including 28 in the Premier League, 19 of which have been starts. Teams involved in the Europa League away from home, they can ask to play their next Serie A match on Monday.

08 April 2019
Merkel hopes United Kingdom can present new Brexit proposals next week
We have to be successful and hope for a solution we can agree together", she said. "I lived behind Iron Curtain for 34 years". Senior officials were also warning that checks on animals and food produce, including milk, will have to take place.

08 April 2019
Windows update makes safe USB removal as default protocol
Windows has defined two main policies for removing external storage devices - Quick removal and Better performance . The trade-off, however, is that the operating system loses the ability to cache disk write operations.

08 April 2019
OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition back in stock in India
In terms of camera setup, there is 16-megapixel + 20-megapixel dual rear cameras and a 16-megapixel selfie camera. The OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition sports an in-display fingerprint sensor and runs OxygenOS based on Android 9 Pie.

08 April 2019
Watch Every Imaginable ‘Game of Thrones’ Spin-Off on ‘SNL’
Plus, his French dance teacher (McKinnon) is there to watch. " SNL " Season 44 continues Saturdays at 11:30 p.m. While it wasn't a standout episode, there were a few amusing sketches.

08 April 2019
SAT debris will decay in 45 days, says DRDO chief
China Reacts to India's Anti-Satellite Missile Test, Says "Hope India Will Safeguard Peace in Outer Space" . He said the team has worked diligently keeping in mind the safety of ISS (International Space Station) too.

08 April 2019
Trump Will Ditch The WHCA Dinner Again Because It's 'Boring' And 'Negative'
In 2011, then President Barack Obama used his time at the podium to ruthlessly mock Trump, who was seated in the crowd. And honestly I don't know if anyone really wants to watch him eat, so I think it's for the best probably.

08 April 2019
Human Remains Found At Home Of Original Mouseketeer Reported Missing Last Summer
Phoenix, Oregon , police on Thursday asked death investigators from Medford to examine a body found in a home belonging to Day. The body has not been identified publicly by authorities in the southern OR town of Phoenix, where the residence is located.