A solar eclipse, on Mars.
Enlarge / A solar eclipse, on Mars.


Welcome to the Daily Telescope. There is a little too much darkness in this world and not enough light, a little too much pseudoscience and not enough science. We’ll let other publications offer you a daily horoscope. At Ars Technica, we’re going to take a different route, finding inspiration from very real images of a universe that is filled with stars and wonder.

Good morning. It’s February 12, and today’s image is a real treat from the surface of Mars.

In it we see the larger of Mars’ two moons, Phobos, passing in front of the Sun. NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover acquired this image using its Left Mastcam-Z camera, one of two powerful cameras located high on the rover’s mast. It was acquired on February 8, 2024 (Sol 1056). Phobos is rather small, with a radius of just 11 km. But since its orbit is less than 10,000 km from the surface of Mars, it still appears rather impressive against the distant Sun.

NASA released a bunch of these raw images last week, and planetary scientist Paul Byrne helpfully put them into a video sequence that can be seen here.

There are colorful dots in the image, but alas, these are artifacts rather than stars.

Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU

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