NASA recently released a new video, created with some help from the Hubble Space Telescope, of Phobos, one of Mars’s two moons, as it orbits around Red Planet. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center also revealed a photo in which the moon is ‘photobombing’ its parent planet’s images.
Phobos Once Again Reveals Its Fast Orbit Thanks to the New Video
Phobos, which means “fear” in Greek, is a quite interesting moon to study as it has various unusual properties. One of them is especially noticeable in the newly released media files. According to NASA, this tiny moon is the only one in the known Solar System to orbit faster than the number of hours estimated for its host planet.
The Hubble Space Telescope captured images of this very same orbit and its impressive speed. It took 13 photos in little more than 20 minutes, so it registered quite a bit of the orbit. When the pictures were stitched together, they presented a “movie” of Phobos’s orbit. Estimates place the moon as having an orbit faster than Mars can rotate in a day.
Although Phobos’s reduced size makes it look almost like a star in the distance, its orbit makes it look almost as if it were photobombing NASA’s pictures of Mars. This was been particularly noticeable in the latest image released by the Goddard Space Flight Center.
Its size is another one of Phobos’s particular features. It is the smallest moon in the known Solar System, as it measures just around 16.5 miles long.
“It is so tiny that it would fit comfortably inside the Washington, D.C., Beltway,” states NASA.
Phobos is also closer to its parent planet than any other known moon. It is situated just around 3,700 miles away from the surface of the Red Planet.
Besides Phobos, Mars only has one other moon, called Deimos, and which is also named after one of the sons of the ancient Greek God of War, Ares. How the two natural satellites came to orbit the Red Planet is still not fully known as their origin is also still being debated.
Image Credits: NASA