Bruce Murray Space Image Library

Mars and the Sun viewed by SOHO

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The video above shows the Sun from January 1 to February 4, 2011 as viewed by the Large Angle and Spectrometric Coronagraph (LASCO) Experiment aboard the ESA/NASA SOHO solar observatory mission. This instrument puts a disc in front of the Sun to block the direct light. Coming in from the left of the video is a bright speck - Mars! Mars reached solar conjunction on February 4. As a result of its apparent proximity to the Sun, radio communications with all the Mars spacecraft (Mars Express, Mars Odyssey, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, and the two Mars Exploration Rovers) were curtailed.