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17.06.2011

Highlight of the Month June: Phobos-Jupiter conjunction


On 1 June 2011, a special manoeuvre was undertaken by Mars Express to observe a conjunction between Phobos and Jupiter. The graphics illustrate the trajectories of Phobos and Mars Express, with Phobos moving anticlockwise behind Mars while Mars Express approaches its aphelion. At the moment when Mars Express, Phobos, and Jupiter aligned, there was a distance of 11389 km between the spacecraft and Phobos, and a further 529 million kilometres (3.54 AU) to Jupiter. While MEx and Phobos continued on their paths, the HRSC Super Resolution Channel (SRC) kept a fixed view on Jupiter. The imaging sequence returned a total of 104 frames over a period of 68 seconds.

By fixing the exact moment when Jupiter passes behind the Martian moon, such an observation can be used to verify and even improve our knowledge of the orbital position of Phobos (see SRC frame 55).

The scenes shown here were created at the Department of Planetary Sciences and Remote Sensing, at the Institute of Geological Sciences of the Freie Universität Berlin.

Animated sequence of 100 single SRC images. 

Video: Copyright ESA/DLR/FU Berlin (G. Neukum)
[Download Movie]  (with rightclick and "Save as...")

The original SRC images were improved by a motion-deblurring -algorithm of the Chinese University of Hong Kong. In the animation sequence those improved single frames were used. However, the gaps between the frames were filled with hybrid images where images were moved horizontally by one pixel. In addition, the gamma-value was slightly modified.

Geometrical Relationship
Geometrical Relationship
Geometrical Relationship (in detail)
Geometrical Relationship (in detail)
Constellation and orbital parameters of Phobos and MEx are shown in these two graphics using the software Celestia. Note the flight direction of Phobos and MEx. The letter "S" denotes the South Pole of Mars.
Images: Copyright ESA/DLR/FU Berlin (G. Neukum).

SRC frames
SRC frames
Three single SRC frames (no. 31, 55, and 75) of Phobos "passing" Jupiter.
Image: Copyright ESA/DLR/FU Berlin (G. Neukum).

Jupiter and moons
Jupiter and moons
Strongly enhanced inset reveals the Galilean moons of Jupiter: Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto.
Image: Copyright ESA/DLR/FU Berlin (G. Neukum)

Perspective view (red-cyan anaglyph)
Perspective view (red-cyan anaglyph)
Perspective view of the Phobos-Jupiter conjunction as red-cyan anaglyph.
Image: Copyright ESA/DLR/FU Berlin (G. Neukum)


The High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) experiment on the ESA Mars Express Mission is led by the Principal Investigator (PI) Prof. Dr. Gerhard Neukum who also designed the camera technically. The science team of the experiment consists of 40 Co-Investigators from 33 institutions and 10 nations. The camera was developed at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) under the leadership of the PI G. Neukum and built in cooperation with industrial partners (EADS Astrium, Lewicki Microelectronic GmbH and Jena-Optronik GmbH). The experiment on Mars Express is operated by the DLR Institute of Planetary Research, through ESA/ESOC. The systematic processing of the HRSC image data is carried out at DLR. The scenes shown here were created by the PI-group at the Institute for Geological Sciences of the Freie Universitaet Berlin.



Download
hochaufgelöste Bilddaten / high resolution image data

Geometrical Relationship:   TIF
(165 KBs)
JPG
(96 KBs)
Geometrical Relationship (in detail):   TIF
(191 KBs)
JPG
(89 KBs)
SRC frames:   TIF
(319 KBs)
JPG
(103 KBs)
Jupiter and moons:   TIF
(155 KBs)
JPG
(94 KBs)
Perspective view (red-cyan anaglyph):   TIF
(117 KBs)
JPG
(45 KBs)

© Copyright: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin (G. Neukum)

 

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19.07.2012

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