NASA’s Curiosity views eclipse on Mars

Added by on September 17, 2012

NASA’s Curiosity rover took photos of a partial solar eclipse on Mars during this past weekend.

The rover used its left Mastcam, using a neutral density filter, to photograph Mars’ moon Phobos as it transited the sun. The sun appeared to have a small bite taken out of it.

Ground controllers sent commands to Curiosity for it to take hundreds of photos during the event – only a few of the photos have been transmitted so far. It is expected that more phtoos will be assembled to create a movie of the event as viewed from the martian surface.

Curiosity used a neutral density filter that reduces the intensity of light from the sun by a factor of 1,000 to protect the rovers camera.

NASA’s two other rovers, active since 1997, have also witnessed similar events from their respective locations.

Curiosity has been on the surface of Mars for 41 Sols (Mars days) – a Sol is 2.7% longer than a day on Earth.