Some Mars maniacs just won’t grow up: A picture of the track patterns left behind by the Mars rovers’ standard turning maneuver has drawn giggles and gasps ““ merely because it looks like a penis scrawled on the Red Planet. “The rude drawing has emerged in a series of images taken by one of its rover machines. … The latest pictures beamed back from one of the rovers show signs that the project’s controllers have started to get a bit bored,” The Sun, a British tabloid, reported on Wednesday. [Cosmiclog – NBC News]
WHAT better way to mark the partial lunar eclipse today than by celebrating Mars Rover? Reddit got it started:
The rover’s picture went viral after being posted to Reddit’s r/funny subreddit page Tuesday, earning close to 40,000 “upvotes” in a matter of a few hours. According to The Huffington Post UK, NASA’s website crashed due to increased traffic as word of the “drawing” spread. [Huffington Post]
As for the partial lunar eclipse today, from EarthSky.org:
What causes a partial eclipse? A lunar eclipse can only happen at full moon, when the moon lies generally opposite the sun in Earth’s sky. When Earth resides directly in between the moon and sun, then the Earth’s dark shadow totally falls upon the moon’s surface. On April 25-26, the alignment of sun-Earth-moon is a little off, so it’s only a partial eclipse.
A lunar eclipse happens when the long shadow of Earth touches the moons face. Earth’s shadow has two parts: a dark inner umbra and lighter surrounding penumbra. The moon does go into the darkest part of Earth’s shadow tonight, the umbral shadow, but only briefly. Thus tonight’s eclipse is an extremely shallow partial lunar eclipse, with only the northernmost portion of the moon passing through the Earth’s dark shadow for about 27 minutes. At the greatest eclipse, the Earth’s dark shadow will cover less than 1.5% of the moon’s diameter.
For you mystics out there, there’s an astrological video below on the lunar eclipse picked randomly, because I don’t know anything about this side of star gazing. Astrology remains one of the secret guilty pleasures of people everywhere. It’s just few will admit it.