NASA’s Curiosity rover has captured two stunning videos of solar eclipses from the surface of Mars, including one that shows the Red Planet’s skies darkening dramatically above the 1-ton robot.
Curiosity recorded the two Mars solar eclipse videos on back-to-back days last month, Aug. 19 and Aug. 20. In both cases, Phobos -- the larger of Mars’ two tiny moons -- blotted out much of the sun’s disk.
Mission team members created the two eclipse videos, which NASA released Thursday (Sept. 5), by stitching together photos Curiosity snapped with its workhorse Mast Camera -- 52 images for the Aug. 19 eclipse and 89 pictures for the event one day later.
Curiosity’s video of the Aug. 19 eclipse, however, also includes five frames captured by the car-size rover’s rear hazard-avoidance camera. These images, taken 58 seconds apart, show the Martian landscape dimming markedly and then brightening again as Phobos completes its trek across the sun’s face.