A Martian eclipse


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The hubbub about this week’s lunar solstice eclipse was, from my perspective, mostly manufactured press blather. For those who had never seen a lunar eclipse, it was a spectacular experience, but there really was nothing scientifically or technically unique about the fact that it happened to occur on the solstice.

However, below is an eclipse that is definitely unique both technically and scientifically. Scientists using the Mars rover Opportunity have filmed an eclipse on Mars, showing the Martian moon Phobos crossing in front of the Sun. Consider the engineering accomplishment: not only did they need to be able to calculate exactly when this would happen at a very particular spot on the Martian surface, they had to have a camera there able to take the movie. And they had to operate it from Earth!

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