NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope Captures Tiny Moon Orbiting Mars
Reports confirmed that the Hubble Space Telescope of NASA just captured tiny moon Phobos as it is making its orbital trek around the Red Planet, Mars. In the said, image, Phobos appeared very small like a star around the said planet.
Hubble was able to take 13 exposures throughout the course of 22 minutes and these allowed the astronomers to develop a time-lapse video showing the orbital path of the little moon. Originally, the Hubble observations were intended to get some images of Mars but the moon appeared surprisingly so it became like a bonus for the astronomers.
According to PHYS.ORG, Phobos is considered as one of the smallest moons in the solar system like a football-shaped object measuring 16.5 miles by 13.5 miles by 11 miles. This moon of Mars is so little that it can already fit inside the Beltway in Washington, D.C.
It was also reported that the tiny moon called Phobos can complete an orbit in just b7 hours and 39 minutes and this is considered faster if compared to how Mars rotates. With this, it was considered as the only natural satellite in the solar system that orbits its planet in a time shorter than its parent planet's day.
Following the landing of the Apollo 11 on July 20, 1969, on the moon, the Mariner 7 of NASA took its voyage around the Red Planet and was able to take close-up images of the moon Phobos. In 1977, the Viking 1 orbiter was able to get and take the first detailed photograph of Phobos. In the said image, it appeared that Phobos has a gaping crater from an impact which almost crushed the moon.
Last August 17, 1877, Phobos was discovered by Asaph Hall at the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C. just six days after the discovery of another moon, Deimos. Hall was actually searching and studying Martian moons prior to the discovery of the said planets which were name after the sons of the Greek god of war.
In the said images provided by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, Phobos is apparently being torn apart by the gravitational pull of the Red Planet, Mars. It was also discovered that the tiny moon is drawing nearer to Mars by about 6.5 feet every hundred years and with this, it was predicted that within 30 million years, it will crash into Mars.