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Phobos Slips Past Jupiter
Phobos Slips Past Jupiter
17 Jun 2011
(Source: ESA)

A movie of the encounter made by combining 100 images of the 1 June 2011 Phobos -- Jupiter conjunction. The High Resolution Stereo Camera on Mars Express took this sequence. Credits: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin (G. Neukum)

Earlier this month, ESA's Mars Express performed a special manoeuvre to observe an unusual alignment of Jupiter and the martian moon Phobos. The impressive images have now been processed into a movie of this rare event.

At the moment when Mars Express, Phobos, and Jupiter aligned on 1 June 2011, there was a distance of 11,389 km between the spacecraft and Phobos, and a further 529 million km to Jupiter.

The High Resolution Stereo Camera on Mars Express was kept fixed on Jupiter for the conjunction, ensuring that the planet remained static in the frame. The operation returned a total of 104 images over a period of 68 seconds, all of them taken using the camera's super-resolution channel.

By knowing the exact moment when Jupiter passed behind Phobos, the observation will help to verify and even improve our knowledge of the orbital position of the martian moon.

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

Conjunction: before, during and after.
Three frames from the series of 104 taken by Mars Express during the Phobos -- Jupiter conjunction on 1 June 2011. Credits: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin (G. Neukum)



Paths of Phobos and Mars Express.
The trajectories of Phobos and Mars Express at the time of the conjunction with Jupiter on 1 June 2011. The graphic was created using Celestia software. The letter 'S' denotes the South Pole of Mars.



Phobos and Mars Express
The configuration of Phobos and Mars Express at the time of the conjunction with Jupiter on 1 June 2011. The graphic was created using Celestia software. Credits: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin (G. Neukum)



Phobos and Jupiter in 3D
One frame from the 1 June 2011 Phobos -- Jupiter conjunction taken by the High Resolution Stereo Camera on Mars Express. Stereoscopic glasses are required to see the 3D effect. Credits: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin (G. Neukum)
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Last Updated: 17 Jun 2011