Look, up in the sky: It’s Phobos and Deimos, in a duo performance captured for the first time by camera. Europe’s Mars Express orbiter did the legwork last month, snapping pictures at least every second for 1.5 minutes on Nov. 5. The images, along with a cool movie, were released this morning.
Phobos, in the foreground, is the larger of the moons, circling Mars every seven hours and 39 minutes. It was 7,332 miles from the spacecraft at the time the pictures were taken. Circling 16,280 miles away, was little sister moon Deimos.
The shoot was years in the making, writes the European Space Agency in a press release, and was made possible by the unique elliptical orbit of Mars Express, good orbital stats for Mars, its moons and the spacecraft, as well as “fortuitous” viewing geometry.
At least Spirit, still stuck in a Martian sand trap, has something pretty to look at.