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Waspie_Dwarf

Curiosity Views Eclipse of the Sun by Phobos

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NASA Mars Rover Views Eclipse of the Sun by Phobos

PASADENA, Calif. – Images taken with a telephoto-lens camera on NASA's Mars rover Curiosity catch the larger of Mars' two moons, Phobos, passing directly in front of the sun -- the sharpest images of a solar eclipse ever taken at Mars.

Phobos does not fully cover the sun, as seen from the surface of Mars, so the solar eclipse is what’s called a ring, or annular, type. A set of three frames from Curiosity's Mast Camera (Mastcam), taken three seconds apart as Phobos eclipsed the sun, is at http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA17356 .

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Edited by Waspie_Dwarf
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What a truly amazing time we live in! We just looked at pictures of an eclipse from a different freaking world! That is just mind boggling and humbling and wonderful!

Also, my brother got to design a circuit for one of the mars buggies. I'll have to ask him which one it was. And to be fair, those things have thousands upon thousands of circuits and dealing with just one isn't, like, kinda, that big of a deal... but still, who can say, yeah, i designed a chunk of thing that totally operates on another planet?!

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What a truly amazing time we live in! We just looked at pictures of an eclipse from a different freaking world! That is just mind boggling and humbling and wonderful!

Also, my brother got to design a circuit for one of the mars buggies. I'll have to ask him which one it was. And to be fair, those things have thousands upon thousands of circuits and dealing with just one isn't, like, kinda, that big of a deal... but still, who can say, yeah, i designed a chunk of thing that totally operates on another planet?!

It is staggering that technology is able to capture such an event.

The mathematics involved in computing the exact location and time for such an event to take place here on Earth are staggeringly complex. To be able to compute it from a vantage point so far away blows my mind. And to have it done with such accuracy that pictures can be sent back to us is mind-knumbing.

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Awe-struck!

:tu:

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To be able to compute it from a vantage point so far away blows my mind.

The maths is the same whether you are calculating it an eclipse on Earth or an eclipse on Mars. The tricky bit is knowing the exact distance between the Earth, the Moon and the Sun (or Mars, Phobos, Sun).

And to have it done with such accuracy that pictures can be sent back to us is mind-knumbing.

Less accuracy is required for calculating a Transit of the Sun by Phobos than a total solar eclipse on Earth. Since the Moon and the Sun appear to be virtually the same size when viewed from Earth the path of totality is very narrow. Just a few miles off in your calculations and you will miss it.

Phobos, on the other hand, is appreciably smaller than the solar disk when viewed from the Martian surface. The path under which the transit will be visible is, therefore, much wider than that for totality on Earth. This also means that from any given spot on the surface the phenomenon will be more common than a total solar eclipse on Earth.

In fact this is not the first time that a rover has observed such a transit. Opportunity saw one in November 2010.

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Goodness, I feel fortunate to be alive, indeed..

I wonder what people like Galileo would think if they were alive to see this.

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I wonder what people like Galileo would think if they were alive to see this.

Vindicated I expect.

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Mars' Moon Phobos Eclipses the Sun, as Seen by Curiosity

This video clip shows the larger of the two moons of Mars, Phobos, passing directly in front of the sun, in an eclipse photographed by NASA's Mars rover Curiosity.

Credit: NASA/JPL

Source: NASA - Multimedia

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