Hubble spies tiny Martian moon Phobos


Phobos may be small, but not small enough to escape the eyes of the Hubble Space Telescope.


This composite image made from 13 photos taken over 22 minutes shows Phobos emerging from behind Mars.
This composite image made from 13 photos taken over 22 minutes shows Phobos emerging from behind Mars.
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre

When the Hubble Space Telescope turned its lens on Mars in May 2016, it also spied the tiny moon Phobos swinging out from behind the planet.

Oval in shape and only 26 kilometres long, Phobos is one of the smallest moons in the solar system (though still bigger than Deimos, the other moon of Mars, which is only 12 kilometres across).

Phobos stays close to Mars in a tight orbit only 6000 kilometres above the surface that takes less than 8 hours to complete.

When the photos were taken, Mars and Phobos were some 80 million kilometres from Earth.

A timelapse of Phobos emerging from behind Mars.
A timelapse of Phobos emerging from behind Mars.
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre

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