Curiosity captured two solar eclipses on Mars

When NASA's Curiosity Mars rover landed in 2012, it brought
Throughout eclipse glbades. The solar filters in your mast chamber (Mastcam) allow it
to look directly at the sun During the last weeks, Curiosity has been
Giving them a good use by sending back some spectacular images of solar eclipses
caused by Phobos and Deimos,
The two moons of Mars.

Phobos, which is approximately 7 miles (11.5 kilometers) wide,
was photographed on March 26, 2019 (the 2,359th sun, or Martian day, of the Curiosity mission);
Deimos, which is approximately 1.5 miles (2.3 kilometers) wide, was photographed in
March 17, 2019 (Sun 2350). Phobos does not completely cover the Sun, so it would
Be considered an annular eclipse. Because Deimos is so small compared to the
disc of the Sun, the scientists would say that it is In transit

In addition to capturing each step of the moon in front of
The sun, one of the navigation cameras of Curiosity (Navcams) observed the shadow of
Phobos on March 25, 2019 (Sun 2358). While the shadow of the moon pbaded over the rover
During the sunset, the light darkened momentarily.

Eclipses have been seen many times out of curiosity.
and other rovers
in the past. Besides being cool – who
Do not love an eclipse? – these
The events also have a scientific purpose, helping researchers fine-tune their
Understanding the orbit of each moon around Mars.

Spirit and Opportunity rovers landed in 2004, there was much more
uncertainty in the orbit of each moon, said Mark Lemmon of Texas A & M
University, College Station, a co-investigator with Curiosity & # 39; s Mastcam. the
The first time one of the rovers tried to imagine Deimos eclipsing the Sun,
He found that the moon was 25 miles (40 kilometers) from where they waited.

"More observations over time help pinpoint the
details of each orbit, "said Lemmon." Those orbits change all the
time in response to the gravitational pull of Mars, Jupiter or even each
Martian moon pulling the other. "

These events also help make Mars relatable, Lemmon said:
"Eclipses, sunrises and sunsets and meteorological phenomena make Mars real.
to people, like a world they like and not unlike what they see outside, not just a
theme in a book. "

Till the date,
There have been eight observations of Deimos eclipsing the Sun from any
Spirit, opportunity or curiosity; There have been around 40 observations of Phobos.
There is still a margin of uncertainty in the orbits of both Martian moons, but
that is reduced with each eclipse seen from the surface of the Red Planet.

About curiosity

The Propulsion Laboratory, a division of Caltech, administers the Science of Mars
Laboratory project for the Directorate of Scientific Missions of NASA, Washington. JPL
Designed and built the Curiosity rover of the project.

Space Science Systems, San Diego, built and operates the Mastcam and
Two other instruments about curiosity.

More information on curiosity is in:

More information about Mars is in:

News Media contact

Andrew Good
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
[email protected]


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