NASA‘s Hubble Space Telescope has beamed back images of the tiny Martian moon Phobos in its orbital trek around the red planet.
Over the course of 22 minutes, Hubble took 13 separate images, allowing astronomers to create a time-lapse video showing the diminutive moon’s orbital path.
The Hubble observations were intended to photograph Mars, and the moon’s cameo appearance was a bonus, scientists said.
A football-shaped object just 26x21x17 kilometres, Phobos is one of the smallest moons in the solar system.
The moon completes an orbit in just seven hours and 39 minutes, which is faster than Mars rotates.
Rising in the Martian west, it runs three laps around the Red Planet in the course of one Martian day, which is about 24 hours and 40 minutes.
It is the only natural satellite in the solar system that circles its planet in a time shorter than the parent planet’s day.
About two weeks after the Apollo 11 manned lunar landing on July 20, 1969, NASA’s Mariner 7 flew by the Red Planet and took the first crude close-up snapshot of Phobos.