Did you know that Earth isn’t the only planet that experiences solar eclipses? In fact, we’ve seen quite a bit of evidence over the years that Mars’ various satellites pass between the Red Planet and the Sun. If you’ve ever wondered what a solar eclipse on Mars looks like, well NASA’s Curiosity and Perseverance have given us spectacular views of this natural event.
You need to see what a solar eclipse on Mars looks like
NASA’s Curiosity and Perseverance rovers are busy doing important research on the Martian surface. But, when the two rovers aren’t gathering sediment and exploring the surface, sometimes their cameras catch amazing sights. These sights can include beautiful landscape views of the Red Planet and solar eclipses, where Mars’ moons pass in front of the Sun.
Unlike Earth, Mars actually has two moons. The planet can experience solar eclipses from both of those moons. However, Phobos and Deimos are very small, unlike Earth’s Moon. So, when they pass between Mars and the Sun, they create a very different type of solar eclipse on Mars than what you might expect to see on our own planet.
The first video featured above was captured by NASA’s Curiosity rover as Phobos passes between the Sun and the Red Planet. The clip was shared on YouTube by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in 2013. It includes several images of the larger Martian moon as it makes its way across the bright backdrop of the Sun.
Fast forward almost ten years, though, and Perseverance, the latest rover that NASA put on Mars, was able to catch its own Martian solar eclipse on video. This second clip of a solar eclipse on Mars is the highest frame-rate observation of a Phobos eclipse we’ve ever taken from the Martian surface. In it, you can see the moon as it passes in front of the Sun, casting a small shadow on the planet below.
Both videos are a startling reminder of just how breathtaking solar eclipses can be, even from other planets. And, as Perseverance continues to scour the surface of the Red Planet for samples of ancient life, we’re sure that it will capture even more spectacular looks at solar eclipses featuring the Martian moons.