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See A Lunar Eclipse From Mercury Orbit, Thanks To MESSENGER

You might have watched solar eclipse or lunar eclipse from Earth’s surface. Now, lets watch a lunar eclipse from Mercury’s orbit, thanks to space agency NASA’s robotic spacecraft MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER).

Lunar Eclipse From Mercury Orbit

NASA launched MESSENGER in August 2004 to study Mercury, the closest planet to the Sun. The robotic spacecraft successfully entered Mercury’s orbit on March 17, 2011. Since then, it has been studying the planet’s chemical composition, geology, and magnetic field. Until now, the space craft has captured 200,000 orbital images of Mercury. But lately, NASA has released a small video showing a lunar eclipse from Mercury’ orbit, captured by MESSENGER.

Lunar Eclipse From Mercury Orbit
Hari Nair, a planetary scientist at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), said, “From Mercury, the Earth and Moon normally appear as if they were two very bright stars. During a lunar eclipse, the Moon seems to disappear during its passage through the Earth’s shadow, as shown in the movie.”

Note that, the lunar eclipse was occurred on October 8. MESSENGER was 107 million kilometers (66 million miles) from the Earth at the time of the lunar eclipse. From Mercury’s orbit, MESSENGER’s camera captured several images of the Moon as it passed behind Earth and into the planet’s shadow. And from those images, NASA has created the above video. The animation is constructed from 31 images. The images start just before the Moon entered the darkest part of the Earth’s shadow (the umbra). To see the video, hit the link given below.


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