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EarthSky // Today's Image Release Date: Sep 27, 2013

Two moons in the sky of Mars

Imagine standing on Mars, looking up, and seeing these two little moons passing overhead.

Deimos (l) and Phobos, two moons in the sky of Mars.

Deimos (l) and Phobos, two moons in the sky of Mars. Image via NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory.

Isn’t it great how we’ve been getting sky images from the Mars rovers? Here are Martian moons Deimos (left) and Phobos (right) view from the Mars Science Laboratory, whose Discovery rover landed on Mars over a year ago in what was then being called seven minutes of terror.

NASA released this image on September 21, 2013. Deimos and Phobos were both in front of the constellation Gemini the Twins at the time. Yes, Mars sees the same constellations we do on Earth. You’d have to be much, much farther from our solar system than Mars is, farther even than the closest stars, for the patterns of the constellations to begin to shift their shape.

Note that the illumination and orientation of the moon Phobos. This image lets us view right into the large Stickney Crater on Phobos, which is at the bottom of the moon in this image. Here, most of the interior of Stickney is in shadow, with sunlight striking the far wall.

Phobos was about to pass into the shadow of Mars when this image was taken.

Thanks to Andrew Brown for sharing this image!

The larger of Mars' two moons, Phobos, orbiting in front of Mars.  Image via Mars Express / ESA / DLR / FU Berlin (G. Neukum).

Can’t resist posting this image. It’s Phobos again, orbiting in front of Mars. Image via Mars Express / ESA / DLR / FU Berlin (G. Neukum).

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