Tag Archives: mars

Jewels in the sky: Observing Mercury & Mars on 8 F...

Mercury is not an easy target to observe. The innermost planet in our Solar System is never further away from the Sun than 30 degrees. It is either trailing the Sun and disappearing below the horizon just after sunset or moving ahead of the Sun and visible just a short time before sunrise. One good opportunity to observe Mercury under good conditions will happen on 16 February when it reaches its maximum elongation (apparent angular distance) of 18 degrees. However, a much more spectacular view (weather permitting!) will be offered on the Friday before, on 8 February, when Mars and Mercury will be separated in the sky by only 20 arc minutes...

First data via Malargüe station: Mars as seen by VMC

Marking its inauguration, ESA’s Malargüe tracking station receives Mars Webcam image. An image of the enigmatic Red Planet acquired by ESA’s Mars Express on 15 December 2012 was downloaded via ESA’s new tracking station in Malargüe, Argentina, symbolising ‘first data’ and recognising formal inauguration. Details on the station’s inauguration via ESA web and ESA media.

Malargüe station mosaic

A mosaic depicting ESA’s new 35m deep-space tracking station at Malargüe, Argentina, composed of several hundred low-resolution Visual Monitoring Camera (VMC) images acquired by Mars Express. On 18 December 2012, the station downloaded a VMC image from Mars Express orbiting some 328 million kilometres from Earth to mark the station’s formal inauguration and the symbolic transmission of ‘first data’. The image was received at ESA’s European Space Operations Centre, Darmstadt, Germany, and processed by the Mars Express mission operations team. Photo mosaic generated using AndreaMosaic, an excellent piece of software!