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A VMC first: the shadow of Phobos

A VMC first: the shadow of Phobos

Date: 08 February 2010
Satellite: Mars Express
Depicts: Phobos shadow crossing the surface of Mars
Copyright: ESA

For the first-time ever, the Mars Express Visual Monitoring Camera (VMC) has imaged what is believed to be the shadow of Mars' closest moon Phobos crossing the surface of the planet. The shadow cast by Phobos as it passes between the Sun and Mars was photographed by the VMC on 30 January 2010.

These Phobos transits are similar to a solar eclipse on Earth but happen much more frequently. The shadow cast by the tiny moon has been seen by several spacecraft before, including by HRSC on Mars Express (see "Light and shadow on the surface of Mars"), but such a long sequence of images showing the shadow crossing the planet is very rare.

This image sequence was originally posted at the VMC blog (see related link in the right-hand menu), on 2 February 2010, 16:02 at

Last Update: 1 September 2019
10-Dec-2023 13:35 UT

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