ESA image: Phobos and Jupiter align

May 12, 2014
Credit: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin (G. Neukum)

(Phys.org) —Even though it may only be a lump of porous rock, Phobos isn't shy about hogging the limelight in this sequence taken by ESA's Mars Express. These three images show Phobos, the larger of the two martian moons, darting across the frame in front of Jupiter, visible as the pale dot in the centre. From right to left, the frames show snapshots before, during and after the small moon's journey in front of the gas giant.

Observed on 1 June 2011, this unusual alignment is known as a conjunction, and occurs when two Solar System bodies appear to pass close to one another on the sky. This is an optical illusion caused by our perspective–when these pictures were taken there was a distance of almost 11 400 km between the spacecraft and Phobos, and a further 529 million km to Jupiter.

These three frames are part of a set of 104 taken over a period of 68 seconds by the high-resolution stereo camera on Mars Express. Some of the images were also processed to form a video. The images and the video were originally released in June 2011.

Explore further: Mars Express heading towards daring flyby of Phobos (w/ Video)

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Phobos slips past Jupiter (w/ video)

Jun 17, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Earlier this month, ESA's Mars Express performed a special manoeuvre to observe an unusual alignment of Jupiter and the martian moon Phobos. The impressive images have now been processed into ...

Image: Phobos occults

Apr 30, 2014

Mars' moon Phobos has already been extensively observed – this image is just one example, taken in 2009 – so its occultation of Mars Express on 28 April 2014 is not expected to yield dramatic discoveries.

Curiosity Mars rover views eclipse of the Sun by Phobos

Aug 29, 2013

(Phys.org) —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 ...

Recommended for you

Video: A dizzying view of the Earth from space

15 hours ago

We've got vertigo watching this video, but in a good way! This is a sped-up view of Earth from the International Space Station from the Cupola, a wraparound window that is usually used for cargo ship berthings ...

NEOWISE spots a comet that looked like an asteroid

15 hours ago

Comet C/2013 UQ4 (Catalina) has been observed by NASA's Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) spacecraft just one day after passing through its closest approach to the sun. The comet ...

What the UK Space Agency can teach Australia

15 hours ago

Australia has had an active civil space program since 1947 but has much to learn if it is to capture a bigger share of growing billion dollar global space industry. ...

Discover the "X-factor" of NASA's Webb telescope

16 hours ago

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope and Chandra X-ray observatory have something in common: a huge test chamber used to simulate the hazards of space and the distant glow of starlight. Viewers can learn about ...

User comments : 0