Mars Rover Photographs First Eclipse From Another Planet

The larger of Mars’ two moons, Phobos, was recently photographed as it eclipsed the sun by cameras mounted on the Curiosity Rover which is currently stationed on Mars. As Phobos was directly above Mars at about midday, the silhouette of the moon was at it’s largest point and the Curiosity began taking the photos at three second intervals. The images were then made into a timelapse video, which NASA has made available to the public to view. You can watch it below:

The images are the first time that an eclipse has been photographed from another planet. NASA documented the eclipse so that it could use the information to more accurately calculate Phobo’s orbit. Since Phobos is not large enough to shadow out the entire sun, the event could not be considered a total eclipse. The eclipse is an annual event.

As Phobos made it's pass by the sun it, at times, created a scene very reminscent of Pac Man.

As Phobos made it’s pass by the sun it, at times, created a scene very reminscent of Pac Man.

Curiosity is outfitted with two cameras, a MastCam 100mm (f/10) and a MastCam 34mm (f/8). The MastCams are made by a company called Malin Space Science Systems with the cooperation of NASA. The company specializes in photographic equipment made for space. The MastCams are both fixed focal lenght and are capable of producing 720p video, full color images, and stereo sound that is equivalent to a consumer grade DSLR. Each camera is outfitted with a filter wheel that houses 8 different levels of neutral density and UV filters for photographing the sun.

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