What simply occurred? NASA’s Perseverance rover just lately captured video of a photo voltaic eclipse from the floor of Mars. On April 2, the rover’s next-gen Mastcam-Z digicam recorded footage of one in every of Mars’ two moons crossing the face of the Sun. The occasion lasted simply over 40 seconds, not shocking contemplating Phobos is about 157 occasions smaller than our personal Moon. At its widest level, it is solely round 16 miles throughout.
It’s not the primary time NASA has captured a photo voltaic eclipse from the Martian floor, however that is essentially the most zoomed-in, highest body price model up to now.
In 2004, rovers Spirit and Opportunity captured time-lapse images of Phobos throughout a photo voltaic eclipse. In 2012, Curiosity grew to become the primary to get video of a Martian photo voltaic eclipse.
The Mastcam-Z digicam that recorded the footage from Perseverance encompasses a photo voltaic filter to scale back gentle depth. The digicam additionally shoots in shade, not like earlier programs. The ensuing video highlights element within the form of Phobos’ shadow together with ridges and bumps on the potato-shaped moon. Sunspots are additionally seen within the footage.
“I knew it was going to be good, however I did not anticipate it to be this wonderful,” stated Rachel Howson, one of many Mastcam-Z crew members who operates the digicam. Speaking about seeing the full-resolution video for the primary time, Howson stated, “You know what’s coming, however there’s nonetheless a component of shock while you get to see the ultimate product.”
Phobos is predicted to stay in orbit round Mars for tens of tens of millions of years earlier than finally crashing into the Red Planet.