ESA Grabs Glimpses of Mars’ Groovy Moon

This animation is comprised of three images acquired by ESA’s Mars Express spacecraft on Sept. 12, 2017 with its High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC). It shows parts of the grooved and pitted surface of Phobos, the larger of Mars’ two natural satellites. The original images were captured in greyscale; I added color based on other…

Have No Fear, Phobos is Here!

On May 12, 2016, the Hubble Space Telescope captured a series of images of Mars and in them the planet’s moon Phobos can be seen appearing from behind the western limb. This was just 10 days before opposition which, in 2016, was the closest Mars had been to Earth since 2005, lending particularly good opportunity…

Opportunity Spots Phobos Skimming the Sun

It may be in its 14th year on Mars but Opportunity still has some surprises to show us—like this, a series of images captured on May 3, 2017 showing the Sun as seen from Mars. But that’s not the special part: see the change in brightness along the Sun’s edge near the end? That was a…

These Are Our Best Pictures of Mars’ Smallest Moon

Mars isn’t a planet well-known for its natural satellites but it actually does have two small moons. The larger, Phobos, is an irregularly-shaped, heavily grooved and cratered world only about 17 miles (27 km) across at its widest. It orbits Mars so closely that it completes 3 orbits every day, and isn’t even visible from…

Curiosity Gazes on Mars’ Moon Phobos

Do you love to look up at the Moon? Well so does NASA’s Curiosity rover! Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong (I have not confirmed this) but this appears to be an image of Phobos, the larger of Mars’ two small moons, imaged by Curiosity’s Mastcam on mission Sol 1002 (June 1, 2015)….

A Daytime Moon on Mars

A raw image taken on September 21 by Curiosity’s right Mastcam shows a daytime view of the Martian sky with a crescent-lit Phobos in the frame… barely visible, yes, but most certainly there. Very cool! The image above is a crop of the original, contrast-enhanced and sharpened to bring out as much detail as possible….

A Frightful Eclipse Seen From Mars

Yes, Mars gets eclipses too! This brief animation, made from ten raw subframe images acquired with Curiosity’s Mastcam show the silhouette of Mars’ moon Phobos (named after the Greek god of fear) as it slipped in front of the Sun’s limb on September 13 — aka the 37th “Sol” of the mission. The animation spans…

Turning Fear Around

Here’s a quick animation of Mars’ moon Phobos, made from five images – released today – taken by ESA’s Mars Express during its flyby on January 9, 2011. Passing by the 14-mile-wide moon at a distance of about 62 miles (100 km), Mars Express took images in five HRSC channels…I combined those to create this….

Fear a-Flying

Part of a bulk data release from the European Space Agency’s Mars Express orbiter (available at ftp://psa.esac.esa.int/pub/mirror/MARS-EXPRESS/HRSC, posted on unmannedspaceflight.com by user peter59) this wonderful image shows Phobos, the larger of Mars’ two moons, in orbit against the backdrop of the planet’s limb. The dark, irregularly-shaped moon is shown in amazing clarity, giving a very nice…

Heeeere’s Phobos!

After much anticipation, this just in: an amazingly detailed image from the March 7 flyby of Phobos! As Phil Plait might say, click to emphobosize. 😉 See more info and a couple more similar images on the ESA’s Mars Express site. Phobos sure has an interesting surface texture. It’s almost as if boulders have been…

This Week in Space

Buzz muses on the next steps for NASA (and his upcoming stint on “Dancing with the Stars”), the Space Coast braces for lay-offs, new proof of lunar ice, Discovery heads (slowly) to the launch pad, Mars’s potentially-hollow moon Phobos gets a close-up, revisiting a comet, windy black holes, blue marbles, icebergs and more on this…

Phobos Flyby Success

No need to fear, Phobos is here! (That’s a particularly bad pun on Phobos being the Greek god of fear……er…nevermind.) Yesterday’s flyby of Mars’ tiny moon was a success, as the animation below shows using actual data from the event. This latest pass only utilized the ASPERA instrument, which studies the way Phobos interacts with…