NASA Rover captures what looks like a solar eclipse on Mars

NASA / JPL-Caltech / MSSS / Kevin M. Gill

In our Solar System, any planet with moons has the possibility of a solar eclipse.

flickr user Kevin Gill

They occur every time a moon passes directly between its parent planet and the Sun.

From planet Earth, they can appear partial, total or annular.

But on Mars, only partial or annular eclipses occur.

Mars has two moons: Phobos and Deimos.

NASA / JPL-Caltech

Both are too small to completely cover the Sun’s disk.

Like Earth’s moon, Phobos and Deimos cast cone-shaped shadows as they orbit through the Solar System.

However, those cones come to an end before finding the surface of Mars.

As a result, the solar eclipses of Mars never completely block the Sun’s disk.

NASA / JPL / University of Arizona

Smaller and more distant, Deimos appears small and dark, slowly passing between the Sun and Mars.

However, Phobos is larger, closer and more irregular, creating a spectacular silhouette against the sun.

From NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover Mastcam, humanity learns exactly what Martian solar eclipses are like.

Kevin Gill used that data to build real-time eclipse videos for both Martian moons.

The Phobos eclipse occurred on April 4, 2020; Deimos occurred on March 28, 2020.

In its ancient past, Mars may have had a third innermost moon, bringing with it total eclipses.

Mostly Mute Monday tells an astronomical story in pictures, images and no more than 200 words. Talk less; smile more.