The following is an excerpt from Alan Boyle | September 21, 2012 | msnbc.com |
NASA’s Curiosity rover has sent back more snapshots of Martian mini-eclipses, the pyramid-shaped rock it’s studying up close, and its own star-spangled hardware.
The first pictures from Curiosity’s eclipse-watching sessions were received last weekend, focusing on Phobos, the larger of the Red Planet’s two moons. That picture showed the satellite taking a slight bite from the sun’s edge. Now we have images showing the smaller moon, Deimos, passing across the sun’s disk on Sept. 17 (also known as Sol 42 of Curiosity’s mission). Take a look at this animated GIF image from the good folks at UnmannedSpaceflight.com, and compare it with these videos from June’s transit of Venus. Weirdly similar, right?
There’s another shot of a Phobos transit, taken on the morning of Sol 42 on Mars. The Red Planet’s moons never completely cover up the sun’s disk, but the Sol 42 transit darkened more of the sun than the earlier Phobos mini-eclipse did.
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