This Is What a Solar Eclipse Looks Like From Mars
On Thursday, Mars’s Gale Crater was treated to a fantastic sight: a partial solar eclipse. An eclipse very similar to the kind we’re used to seeing from here on Earth, but with the sun blocked, in this case, by a different moon: Phobos, one of the two moons that orbit Mars.
Fortunately for us, Curiosity was there to take a picture of Phobos’s transit. Also fortunately for us, as well, Curiosity took precautions to protect its vision as the transit took place. (As NBC’s Alan Boyle put it: “You wouldn’t want Curiosity to blow out its camera on Mars.”)
So, to capture the image above, the rover’s Mastcam used a neutral density filter that protected Curiosity’s imaging system in the same way that can be seen from some point on Mars pretty much every day. And it will be only be a year before a transit can be seen again from the Gale Crater.
But the relative commonality of the Martian eclipse doesn’t compromise its splendor. And Curiosity isn’t the first rover to capture that view. Below, via Bad Astronomy, is amazing video sent back by Opportunity in November 2010: the sun, eclipsed by one of Mars’s meandering moons.
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This article originally published at The Atlantic