NASA’s Perseverance spacecraft captured a solar eclipse when the red planet’s moon Phobos intersected with the sun, blocking part of the solar disk.
Space amateurs spotted the eclipse in preliminary images taken by the rover on November 18.
Planetary scientist Paul Byrne published the scene on his Twitter account, commenting: “This is a partial eclipse of the sun seen from the surface of Mars on Friday.”
Image processor Kevin Gill put the footage together into a short video clip showing Phobos moving in front of the sun, giving us humans on Earth a good view of what the eclipse will look like from the surface of Mars.
Phobos is known as the moon closest to Mars, among the two moons that orbit the red planet. The other moon is called Deimos.
Phobos’ surface is marked by craters and grooves and is 17 miles (27 kilometers) wide at its widest. And the moon orbits near Mars in a relationship that is likely to lead to its destruction one day, millions of years from now.
The Perseverance spacecraft captured the eclipse while roaming through Jezero Crater, a fascinating area with a watery history.
The rover is collecting rock samples from the area, searching for evidence of ancient microbial life and studying the landscape.