NASA’s astronomical picture today is a stunning compilation of images that trace the reddish retrograde motion of Mars.
Of all the planets in the solar system, Mars has fascinated astronomers the most. Even before space missions reached the surface of Mars, many believed that there might be extraterrestrial life on Mars. Today, NASA’s Perseverance rovers, Curiosity rovers, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, and Ingenuity helicopters explore Earth for water and signs of ancient life. NASA’s Astrophotography Today also focuses on the Red Planet, highlighting its fascinating motion. NASA Astronomy Today’s Image is a composite image that tracks the retrograde motion of Mars. Interestingly, astronomers see the Red Planet form her Z shape in space every two years as it flies through space. This is interesting. That’s because Mars has to rotate backwards to produce her Z-shape, a property that orbiting planets can’t do. So how is this phenomenon possible? This is also explained by NASA.
This composite image was taken by his Tunc Tezel, an amateur astronomer and night sky photographer working on The World At Night (TWAN) project.
NASA explains strange behavior on Mars
NASA said of the phenomenon, “This series is a collection of images taken approximately one week apart from mid-August 2022 to late March 2023 that track the reddish retrograde motion of Mars. Mars moves from the lower right to the upper left through the constellation of Taurus in the night sky of planet Earth, past the Pleiades and Hyades star clusters, but about every two years Mars orbits It does not reverse the direction of to describe the Z shape, instead the apparent backward or backward motion relative to the background stars reflects the orbital motion of the Earth itself. Retrograde motion can be seen whenever the Earth orbits past a planet farther from the Sun, causing the Earth to move faster in relatively close orbits. High in the Northern Hemisphere sky above the Sun, the Red Planet was closest and brightest near the center of the image on December 8.
It also described the capture of comet ZTF (C/2022 E3), a recent popular visitor to the solar system interior, on February 10 and 16.