Mars Rover Curiosity Captures Eclipse On Mars (PICTURES)

Nasa's Curiosity rover has captured some stunning sights and amazing science in its 13 months on Mars. But this might be one of the very best.

The US space agency has just released this series of pictures taken three seconds apart, showing Mars' moon Phobos passing in front of the Sun.

Curiosity photographed the annular (aka 'ring') eclipse with its telephoto lens on the Mast Camera pair, on 17 August.

Phobos is the larger of Mars' two moons, and is an irregular shape with an average radius of just 11km - making it far smaller than our own Moon.

Nasa said that its camera teams had to prepare carefully to capture the event.

It explained:

"Curiosity paused during its drive that sol for a set of observations that the camera team carefully calculated to record this celestial event. The rover's observations of Phobos help make researchers' knowledge of the moon's orbit even more precise.

Because this eclipse occurred near mid-day at Curiosity's location on Mars, Phobos was nearly overhead, closer to the rover than it would have been earlier in the morning or later in the afternoon. This timing made Phobos' silhouette larger against the sun -- as close to a total eclipse of the sun as is possible from Mars."

Find out how Curiosity works in our guide below: