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Solar eclipse on Mars: everything there is to know about the historic sighting

The Perseverance rover camera POT (National Aeronautics and Space Administration), captured a solar eclipse in Mars. the moment that phobosone of the moons of the red planet, characteristic for its potato shape, passed in front of the Sun and has circled the world.

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According to the space agency, the images recorded by the Mastcam-Z camera, they are the result of the widest and highest frame rate observation of a solar eclipse ever taken on the surface of Mars.

The sighting that lasted about 40 seconds, It happened on April 2, the 397th Martian day, or sol, of the mission. The duration was less than that of a typical solar eclipse between the Earth’s Moon and the King star.

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It should be noted that Phobos, the moon of Mars, it is about 157 times smaller than Earth’s Moon. Mars’ other moon, Deimos, is even smaller.

These observations can help scientists better understand the orbit of the moon and how its gravity pulls on the martian surfacewhich finally shapes the crust and mantle of the red planet.

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“The images are the latest in a long history of NASA spacecraft capturing solar eclipses on Mars. In 2004, NASA’s twin rovers Spirit and Opportunity took the first time-lapse photographs of Phobos during a solar eclipse. Curiosity continued the trend with videos taken by its Mastcam camera system.

remembered that Perseverance landed in February 2021 and in its short time it has been able to send the most enlarged video of a solar eclipse of Phobos so far, and with the highest frame rate in history.

NASA says credit also goes to Perserverance’s “next-generation” Mastercam-Z camera, a zoomable upgrade of Curiosity’s Mastcam.

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Rachel Howson of Malin Space Science Systems in San Diego, one of the Mastcam-Z team members who operates the camera noted that the results are exceeding their expectations.

Although Perseverance first sends low-res thumbnails, it offers a preview of what’s about to send. In that sense, when they received the high resolution images they were amazed at how good the result looked.

But it is not only the resolution, since in the images the color has been a highlight, since the entire eclipse is distinguished. In part, it is because Mastcam-Z has a solar filter that acts like sunglasses to reduce the light intensity.

“You can see details in the shape of Phobos’ shadow, like ridges and bulges on the moonscape,” said Mark Lemmon, a planetary astronomer at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo., who has orchestrated most of the Moon’s observations. Phobos from Mars. “Also can you see the sunspots. And it’s great that you can see this eclipse exactly as the rover saw it from Mars.”

According to NASA scientists, “Phobos is doomed” to crash to the Martian surfacesince they have detected that it is slowly approaching the planet, however, it is estimated that it will occur within millions of years.

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