Skip to comments.Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Mars in the Loop
Posted on 08/09/2012 5:26:03 PM PDT by SunkenCiv
Explanation: This composite of images spaced some 5 to 7 days apart from late October 2011 (top right) through early July 2012 (bottom left), traces the retrograde motion of ruddy-colored Mars through planet Earth's night sky. To connect the dots in Mars' retrograde loop, just slide your cursor over the picture (and check out this animation). But Mars didn't actually reverse the direction of its orbit. Instead, the apparent backwards motion with respect to the background stars is a reflection of the motion of the Earth itself. Retrograde motion can be seen each time Earth overtakes and laps planets orbiting farther from the Sun, the Earth moving more rapidly through its own relatively close-in orbit. On March 4th, 2012 Mars was opposite the Sun in Earth's sky, near its closest and brightest at the center of this picture. Just arrived on the surface of the Red Planet, the Curiosity rover was launched on November 26, when Mars was near the crossover point of its retrograde loop. Of course, Mars can now be spotted close to Saturn and bright star Spica, near the western horizon after sunset.
(Excerpt) Read more at 188.8.131.52 ...
Even Newer Curiosity Images: Including a color panorama and the Mt. Sharp horizon
New Curiosity Images: Including 360 degree panorama and rover self portrait
Waiting for some HiDef color images from Curiosity.
I always enjoy your outer space posts.
I stand in awe of God’s handiwork.
Silly boy, Mars came from pond scum, didn't ya' know . . . or was that life on earth . . . ?
Er . . . the planets evolved from the Sun . . . that's why they all have the same characteristics . . . sort of . . . er . . .
(Not that you can see much.)
Yep, and my great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandparents were mud-sucking fishies.
Dunno if they’re in color, but the hi-res version of the descent is still in the can (as it were), to be sent across the ether after all the important stuff is done. THAT will be an eyeful!
Brilliant. Great photo. Thanks for the post.
Maybe we're related.
They were Romanian mud-sucking fishies.
Should have asked for directions!
You're off a bit. Grand-dad Mudskipper is about 350,000,000 years old, and we are separated from him by at least that many generations, I would suppose, so that's several gigabytes worth of ascii "great's". Well, these days we could do that! Take a while to read through it, though. There are about 30,000,000 seconds in a year.
I have an ongoing interest in Ptolemaic and Copernican astronomy, and Kepler’s “War with Mars”, which led him to his breakthrough formulation. I have been thinking about it lately, and it makes a nice complement to today’s physical exploration of Mars, and the Solar System. Kepler would have loved to see it - I’m sure of that.