“Potato-Shaped” Solar Eclipse Captured by NASA

Weird

| LAST UPDATE 04/24/2022

By Eliza Gray
NASA news solar eclipse
VCG / Contributor via Getty Images

Thanks to some exclusive footage captured by NASA's Mars Rover, we've got a very rare look at a potato-shaped object eclipsing the sun. But this isn't a giant tuber floating through space - it's actually one of Mars's two moons, Phobos. Here's the full scoop.

The head-turning footage was captured back on April 2nd and lasted a whopping 40 seconds. And for those not familiar with the typical length of eclipses, that was fairly brief compared to others. But, as NASA later explained, that makes sense considering that Phobos is roughly 157 times smaller than our moon. And that wasn't the only bizarre aspect of this planetary occurrence. As noted previously, the shape that passed in front of the moon didn't look like our average spherical planet, rather, Phobos had an irregular shape to it - most likened on the internet to a giant space potato. And folks on social media weren't the only ones excited. "I knew it was going to be good, but I didn't expect it to be this amazing," exclaimed Rachel Howson, a member of Malin Space Science Systems in California. She was one of the two scientists operating the cameras that captured this remarkable footage.

phobos solar eclipse nasa
Handout / Handout via Getty Images
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For those feeling as though they've missed out and are looking forward to the next time this giant lump comes crossing the sun's path, there's some good news and bad news. On the downside, Phobos's orbit has a definite endpoint, with its current path heading right towards Mars's surface. But on the plus side, that won't happen for another 10 million years or so. But until then, you can take a look at NASA's footage that they've graciously shared with the world by posting online.

In just four days, this footage has raked in over half a million views, making this giant potato officially viral-worthy. But, of course, a little cameo from a martian or two would really get this trending. Oh well, maybe next time... Be sure to check back soon for more fascinating occurrences from the wonderful world of science...

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