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Emily LakdawallaJanuary 25, 2011

Animation of Phobos rotating from recent Mars Express flyby images

On Friday I posted some terrific images of Phobos captured by Mars Express' High Resolution Stereo Camera. The views included a set of five images captured by the five panchromatic channels on the camera, each of which points in a different direction, some ahead and some behind the spacecraft, permitting different look angles on the moon. Now Daniel Macháček has colorized the images and run them through some morphing software to make a seamless animation that appears to show Phobos rotating before you. Way cool!

ESA / DLR / FU Berlin (G.Neukum) / Daniel Macháček

Animation of Martian moon Phobos made from five images taken by Mars Express spacecraft
Animation of the Martian moon Phobos made from five images taken by Mars Express spacecraft (HRSC camera), artificially colorized to approximately true global color. Images were acquired on September 1, 2011. Rotation at speed ~1°/s.

Here's the five images that Daniel started with:

How HRSC's five panchromatic channels view Phobos

ESA / DLR / FU Berlin (G. Neukum)

How HRSC's five panchromatic channels view Phobos
Mars Express' HRSC has five "panchromatic" detectors that each look down from the spacecraft at a different angle: there is one nadir (straight-down) channel, two "stereo" channels S1 and S2 that are each angled forward and backward along the spacecraft's path at 18.9°, and two "photometric" channels P1 and P2 that are at slightly smaller angles. As a result of these different look angles, Mars Express saw Phobos from five different perspectives.

Read more: pretty pictures, amateur image processing, Mars Express, Phobos, explaining image processing, animation

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Emily Lakdawalla

Senior Editor and Planetary Evangelist for The Planetary Society
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