Watch The Solar Eclipses On Mars Through The Eyes Of The Curiosity Rover
The Curiosity Rover has captured two Eclipses on Mars.
Eclipses are generally moments of great cosmic significance to us. From the ancient Aztecs to modern humans, eclipses have always fascinated and thrilled us. Now, imagine being able to see not one, but two eclipses on Mars! Yes, Mars. The groundbreaking Curiosity Rover sent back images that it had captured this year and these very images are now available for all to see. And what a sight it was.
Mars has two moons, namelyPhobos and Deimos. Because of their size and distance from the sun, the factors that combine to cause an eclipse here on Earth arequite different when viewed on the red planet.
Basically, an eclipse is formed when light from a celestial body is obscured when another body passes between the two. Essentially, an eclipse occurs on Earth when the moon comes in between the Earth and Sun.
The series of images captured by the Curiosity Rover shows the Martian moon Phobos as it crosses the Sun. These images were captured by NASA's Curiosity Mars rover on March 26, 2019.
How did the Curiosity Rover capture two eclipses?
The Curiosity Rover was sent with special ‘eclipse glasses’ to Mars. There are solar filters attached to the Mast Camera (Mastcam) that allows the bot to stare directly at the sun, giving us a front row seat to an amazing cosmic event.
This is not the first time rovers have captured images of eclipses. Until now, Deimos, the larger moon of Mars, has been observed going through an eclipse, a staggering eight times. These observations were tracked from different rovers that were sent to Mars including Spirit, Opportunity and Curiosity.
These amazing images give scientists here on Earth deeper insight into the characters of the moons of Mars including their rotation period, time and location of the orbit.
According to a NASA scientist, “more observations over time help pin down the details of each orbit. Those orbits change all the time in response to the gravitational pull of Mars, Jupiter or even each Martian moon pulling on the other. There's still a margin of uncertainty in the orbits of both Martian moons but we are getting close as we get more images of the moons from the rovers we have sent on Mars.” he said.
From what we can see, the two eclipses are truly a wonderful sight to behold. Let’s hope we continue to study the red planet and maybe one day, it’ll be ripe for human habitation.