Moon in front of the Sun: The Mars rover Perseverance has filmed the clearest video ever of a solar eclipse of Mars. During this April 2 eclipse, Mars’ small moon Phobos passed in front of the Sun as a dark spot. Recordings from the rover’s mast camera also show structures on the dark moon. The details of the route help track Phobos’ orbit and how it changes.
The Martian moon Phobos is a fragile dwarf: the irregularly shaped part is only 20 kilometers across and is marked by long cracks and impact marks. Furthermore, it orbits the dangerously low Mars at an altitude of only 6,000 kilometers and so could be in a few million years. separated, Planetary researchers also suspect that Mars’ small moon once emerged from the debris of a larger ancestors or from an initial ring of mars Occurred.
Path of Phobos to the Sun
Mars rover on 2 April 2022 Patience The Martian moon Phobos as seen during a special event – a Martian solar eclipse. The potato-sized moon passed directly in front of the Sun. Because Phobos is 157 times smaller than our Earth’s moon, it covered only a small part of the Sun’s disk – so it did not darken on Mars. The eclipse also lasted only 40 seconds – but the planet was spectacular for researchers:
Thanks to a special filter, the rover’s mast camera filmed the lunar path in high resolution and without the shadow of the Sun. “You can see details in the shape of Phobos, like the rocks and hills in the lunar landscape,” says Mark Lemon of the Space Science Institute in Boulder. “And you can see the sunspots. It’s great that we’re seeing this eclipse just like the rover experienced it on Mars.”
Information about the orbit of the Moon of Mars
Perseverance isn’t the first Mars rover to send images of the Phobos path to Earth: two rovers Spirit and Opportunity delivered the first-ever missed images of such a solar eclipse in 2004, and the Curiosity rover filmed such an event as well. However, Perseverance’s camera system provides recording of Phobos transit at the highest frame rate and resolution ever.
Recordings of Phobos’ different paths in front of the Sun have helped determine the orbit of the Martian moon more accurately over the past two decades. This allows planetary researchers to more closely study the evolution of Phobos’ slow approach to Mars and thus better predict its fate.
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