Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover Mission on its way to the Red Planet captured by our robotic telescopes: see this incredible imagery! 30 July 2020

We have just captured the Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover Mission to the Red Planet with our telescopes and we are happy to share a image and a great time-lapse with you. By the way: we also captured the booster and detected its fast spinning!

Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover Mission to Mars captured by the Virtual Telescope facility - 30 July 2020.

Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover Mission to Mars captured by the Virtual Telescope facility – 30 July 2020.

Launched earlier today, it is now at the beginning of its journey to Mars. Once the evening arrived here in Italy, we asked our robotic  telescope to point and track the probe, as soon at it rose above the Italian horizon. While still very low above the horizon, we could capture the probe and wanted to share with you this “hot” image right away. To point the target, we used the JPL’s Horizon service.

The image above comes from a single, 180-seconds exposure, remotely taken with the “Elena” (PlaneWave 17″+Paramount ME+SBIG STL-6303E) robotic unit available at Virtual Telescope. The telescope tracked the fast apparent motion of the asteroid, this is why stars show as  trails, while the spacecraft looks like a bright and sharp dot of light in the center of the image.

Using more than 100 frames, we made the simple time-lapse below. Note: there are some hot pixels, too, but the spacecraft is obvious, in the center. Be sure to click on the animation to get the full-res version.

The Mars 2020 Perseverance spacecraft surfs the sky as it begins its journey - 30 July 2020.

The Mars 2020 Perseverance spacecraft surfs the sky as it begins its journey – 30 July 2020.

Not far from the spacecraft, there was the booster too, about half-a-degree on the west. below there is a image of the booster, brighter than the other traveler.

The booster involved in the launch of the Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover. A satellite trail is also visible - 30 July 2020.

The booster involved in the launch of the Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover. A satellite trail is also visible – 30 July 2020.

 

We managed to create a time-lapse for the booster, too, here it is (be sure to click on the animation to get the full-res version):

The Mars 2020 booster is also out there - 31 July 2020.

The Mars 2020 booster is also out there – 31 July 2020.

As you can see, the booster is clearly twinkling as it is spinning. Using the available data, we could determine its lightcurve and its rotational period, as from the plots below (the spacecraft, on its side, it is not showing evident variations):

The Mars 2020 booster is clearly spinning and our analysis suggests a period of 173 seconds.

The Mars 2020 booster is clearly spinning and our analysis suggests a period of 173 seconds.

We are truly excited to have captured it!

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