What is that fast-moving blob orbiting Mars? This is its moon Phobos, whose fate now seems tragically sealed.
Mars It emerges as a red giant in front of the lens of the Hubble Space Telescope, which has captured something surprising: a small, fast-moving blip orbiting the planet. what is he talking about? Not only PhobosOne of his two moons – the closest and largest. We had the opportunity to see him in an excellent way, standing sharply against his planet.
Phobos, pictures of the moon of Mars
The photos aren’t particularly recent, but just a few days ago the European Space Agency (ESA) decided to share them on their Instagram profile, in a photo time lapse videos This leaves everyone speechless. What do they represent? These are Mars and its moon Phobos, which is rapidly orbiting the planet. The sighting dates back to May 12, 2016, when the Hubble Space Telescope imaged it Mars on its journey around the sunAt one of its closest points to Earth – and this phenomenon occurs every 26 months.
Thanks to its proximity to our planet, it was possible to take high-resolution images: Hubble took 13 images in just 22 minutesThis allows astronomers to create an impressive video showing the motion of Phobos in its orbit around the Red Planet. Why do these images leave us so intrigued? Phobos is a really strange natural satellite, with strange properties. For example, it is too small: It has an average diameter of only 22 kilometers (our Moon has a radius of over 1,700 kilometers!).
It also just rotates 6000 km from the martIt takes only 7 hours and 39 minutes to make a full revolution, so it is the closest satellite to its planet in the entire solar system. Because of these characteristics (its small size and proximity to the Red Planet), Phobos is difficult to observe — let alone photograph. This time, the Hubble Space Telescope has pulled off a real feat, with an astonishing result. but Phobos is not the only moon of MarsThere’s also Deimos, which is much farther round and smaller. Its average diameter is 12.4 km, and its distance from the planet is 23,500 km (it takes 30 hours to make a full circle).
The fate of Phobos and Deimos
Phobos and Deimos, two moons of Mars, have a mysterious origin and share an inevitable (and tragic) fate. The first, which is also closest to the Red Planet, continues to approach relentlessly, pulled by the force of gravity. For astronomers, there is no doubt that Phobos will be destroyed in the future. How this will happen is not yet clear. Its spiral motion brings it closer and closer to Mars within 50 million years It will disintegrate due to the gravity of the planet, or it will crash on its surface.
Opposite fate of Deimos: in its almost perfect circular orbit, it is moving farther and farther from Mars, and one day it will separate from it for good, free from its gravity. When will that happen? It is likely that this phenomenon will occur within a few million years, and the moon will abandon the orbit of its planet and spread out into space. Finally, a catastrophic event can lead to destruction both satellites Before they have time to fulfill their destiny. Astronomers have noticed that it actually sheds material, as if it were disintegrating on its own.
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