05.15.2017 Putting Martian 'Tribulation' Behind
05.15.2017 From 'Tribulation' to 'Perseverance' on Mars
04.20.2017 Chemical Laptop Team
04.20.2017 Subcritical Water Extractor
04.20.2017 Chemical Laptop
04.20.2017 Atacama Landscape
03.30.2017 Measuring Mars' Atmosphere Loss
03.29.2017 Lifetime Achievement Award to Theisinger
03.29.2017 A Decade of Compiling the Sharpest Mars Map
03.21.2017 Break in Raised Tread on Curiosity Wheel
03.17.2017 COBALT/JPL team
03.09.2017 Back-to-Back Martian Dust Storms
02.27.2017 Swirling Dust in Gale Crater, Mars, Sol 1613
02.27.2017 Dust Devil Passes Near Martian Sand Dune
02.27.2017 Sand Moving Under Curiosity, One Day to Next
02.08.2017 Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Observes Changes
01.26.2017 Mono Lake
01.25.2017 'Wing' Dike of Hardened Lava in New Mexico
01.25.2017 Blade-Like Martian Walls Outline Polygons
01.23.2017 Spirit And Opportunity By The Numbers
01.10.2017 Mars 2020 Rover - Artist's Concept
01.06.2017 Earth and Its Moon, as Seen From Mars
12.13.2016 Now and Long Ago at Gale Crater, Mars
12.13.2016 Where's Boron? Mars Rover Detects It
11.15.2016 Schiaparelli Impact Site on Mars, Stereo
11.03.2016 Schiaparelli Impact Site on Mars, in Color
10.17.2016 MAVEN Captures Rapid Cloud Formation
10.17.2016 Mars' Nightside Atmosphere
10.17.2016 Ultraviolet Image Near Mars' South Pole
10.17.2016 Ultraviolet Mars Reveals Cloud Formation
10.05.2016 Dust Haze Hiding the Martian Surface in 2001
10.04.2016 Test of Lander Vision System for Mars 2020
10.03.2016 A Sharpened Ultraviolet View of Mars
10.03.2016 Curiosity Self-Portrait at 'Murray Buttes'
10.03.2016 Butte 'M9a' in 'Murray Buttes' on Mars
Mercury Transit of the Sun, Seen From MarsThis animated blink comparison shows five different versions of observations that NASA's Curiosity rover made about one hour apart while Mercury was passing in front of the sun on June 3, 2014. Two sunspots, each about the diameter of Earth, also appear in the images, moving much less during the hour than Mercury's movement.
This is the first observation of any planet's transit of the sun observed from any planet other than Earth. It is also the first observation of Mercury from Mars.
With precise information about when the transit would occur, the rover team planned this observation using the telephoto-lens (right-eye) camera of Curiosity's Mast Camera (Mastcam) instrument. The camera has solar filters for routine observations of the sun used for assessing the dustiness of the atmosphere. Mercury appears as a faint darkening that moves across the face of the sun. It is about one-sixth the size of a right-Mastcam pixel at the interplanetary distance from which these images were taken, so it does it does not appear as a distinct shape, but its position follows Mercury's known path.
Each of the five versions of the image presented here blinks back and forth between two views recorded at different times during the transit. North is up. The version on the left is minimally enhanced, for a natural looking image of the sun with two sunspots barely visible. The second version has limb darkening removed, the edges masked. The third has enhanced contrast. The fourth has a line added to indicate the calculated path of Mercury during the transit. The fifth adds annotation to point out which spot is Mercury (in the cross hairs) and to identify two sunspots.
For a video presentation of these images, see: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/video/?id=1309 .
Transits of the sun by Mercury and Venus, as seen from Earth, have significant history. Observations of Venus transits were used to measure the size of the solar system, and Mercury transits were used to measure the size of the sun.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/Texas A&M