(NEW YORK) — As Americans gear up for the total solar eclipse in April, eclipse watchers can feast their eyes on a similar astronomical event that partially shadowed Mars.

NASA’s Perseverance rover captured images of Mars’ moon, Phobos, traversing the sun and casting a shadow across the surface of the Red Planet in a partial solar eclipse.

In the timelapse of photos taken on Feb. 8, Phobos’ irregularly shaped silhouette passes over Mars from the top and down across its side and into the pitch-black backdrop of space.

“Each time these eclipses are observed, they allow scientists to measure subtle shifts in Phobos’ orbit over time,” NASA said in an April 2022 statement following a previous solar eclipse. “The moon’s tidal forces pull on the deep interior crust and mantle of the Red Planet. Studying how much Phobos shifts over time reveals something about how resistant the crust and mantle are, and thus what kinds of materials they’re made of.”

Phobos is the larger of Mars’ two moons and orbits the desert planet three times a day, according to NASA.

Mars’ smaller moon, Deimos, similarly passed in front of the sun on Jan. 20, creating a small, shadowed solar eclipse also captured by the Perseverance rover.

The space agency announced its car-sized rover, nicknamed Percy, acquired the eclipse images using a pair of Left Mastcam-Z scouting cameras, anchored high on the rover’s mast.

The rover landed on Mars’ Jezero Crater in Feb. 2021 after being launched in July 2020. The robotic vehicle’s mission is to seek signs of ancient life and collect samples of rock and soil for a possible return to Earth, according to NASA.

On April 8, North America will experience a rare total solar eclipse set to pass over Mexico, the United States and Canada, according to NASA.

The agency reports another total solar eclipse will not return to North America for 20 years, making this natural phenomenon a must-see event.

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