Friday, June 17, 2011

Conjunction of Jupiter and Phobos

Jupiter and the Martian moon Phobos unusually aligned June 1, 2011; and ESA's Mars Express got to see it all! This event, called a 'conjunction,' is a simple astronomical event that occurs when two or more objects align with each other, or pass by quite closely. This is not an 'occultation,' because Jupiter is not blocked from view, but rather 'passed.'

Mars Express was 11,389 kilometers away from Phobos, while Jupiter, a further 529 million km away. The High Resolution Stereo Camera on Mars Express was attentively positioned to capture Jupiter and Phobo's act, and the camera returned one-hundred four images over a period of sixty-eight seconds, helping to create a movie of this event. These observations will help us not only learn more about conjunctions, but will provide the verification of the orbital positions of the martian moons.

'The images shown here were processed at the Department of Planetary Sciences and Remote Sensing at the Institute of Geological Sciences of the Freie Universit├Ąt Berlin.'

This shows the conjunction, (left to right) after, during, and before. Jupiter is obviously the 'dot' in the background. This is an actual image.
Red orbit: Mars Express. Blue Orbit: Phobos.
Phobos and Mars Express
If you would like to view the video of the conjunction, please come to this ESA page. Thanks to ESA for information, the quoted material above was taken from the link above.

Pictures Credit: ESA/DRL/FU Berlin (G. Neukum)

No comments:

Post a Comment