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Friday, November 5, 2021

Phobos Eclipses the Sun!

Rare Footage: Phobos Eclipses the Sun - Witness the Incredible Event!

See how Mars' two moons Phobos and Deimos orbit Mars: 

A transit of Phobos across the Sun as seen from Mars takes place when Phobos passes directly between the Sun and a point on the surface of Mars, obscuring a large part of the Sun's disc for an observer on Mars. During a transit, Phobos can be seen from Mars as a large black disc rapidly moving across the face of the Sun. At the same time, the shadow (antumbra) of Phobos moves across the Martian surface.

The event could also be regarded as a particularly quick and shallow annular solar eclipse by Phobos.

A transit of Phobos from Mars usually lasts only thirty seconds or so, due to the moon's very rapid orbital period of about 7.6 hours.

Because Phobos orbits close to Mars and in line with its equator, transits of Phobos occur somewhere on Mars on most days of the Martian year. Its orbital inclination is 1.08°, so the latitude of its shadow projected onto the Martian surface shows a seasonal variation, moving from 70.4°S to 70.4°N and back again over the course of a Martian year. Phobos is so close to Mars that it is not visible south of 70.4°S or north of 70.4°N; for some days in the year, its shadow misses the surface entirely and falls north or south of Mars.

At any given geographical location on the surface of Mars, there are two intervals in a Martian year when the shadow of Phobos or Deimos is passing through its latitude. During each such interval, about half a dozen transits of Phobos can be seen by observers at that geographical location (compared to zero or one transits of Deimos). Transits of Phobos happen during Martian autumn and winter in the respective hemisphere; close to the equator they happen around the March and September equinoxes, while farther from the equator they happen closer to the winter solstice.

Observers at high latitudes (but less than 70.4°) will see a noticeably smaller angular diameter for Phobos because they are considerably farther away from it than observers at Mars's equator. As a result, transits of Phobos for such observers will cover less of the Sun's disk. Because it orbits so close to Mars, Phobos cannot be seen north of 70.4°N or south of 70.4°S; observers at such latitudes will obviously not see transits, either.

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