This is what Jupiter and Saturn look like from Mars

If you've caught a splendid look at Mars, Jupiter and Saturn in the past few weeks, get ready for a major perspective shift.

While Earthlings were treated to a close approach of Mars and Saturn on March 31 and many views of the trio of worlds in the night sky over the past few weeks, a spacecraft orbiting Mars has also been getting in on the skywatching.

The European Space Agency's (ESA) Mars Express spacecraft has been circling the Red Planet since 2003, and among its instruments is the Visual Monitoring Camera, which the agency bills as a "Mars webcam." But while the camera spends most of its time looking at the Red Planet, it can pivot to look out into space.

Related: Saturn, Mars & Jupiter align over NYC in gorgeous night-sky photos

And lately, the instrument has been doing just that, as spacecraft personnel ordered the camera to conduct some geometric calibration observations. "Current geometry for the camera is good," ESA wrote in a statement, "but the team are trying to acquire more deep-sky images to cover uniformly the sensor and reduce uncertainties."

Those deep-sky images include photos of a conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn. The agency combined images taken on March 21 and March 25 to produce an animation of the spacecraft's view of the planets during the event. The images also show Jupiter appearing to move more rapidly than Saturn, on account of its closer position to Mars and the spacecraft, according to ESA.

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Meghan Bartels
Senior Writer

Meghan is a senior writer at and has more than five years' experience as a science journalist based in New York City. She joined in July 2018, with previous writing published in outlets including Newsweek and Audubon. Meghan earned an MA in science journalism from New York University and a BA in classics from Georgetown University, and in her free time she enjoys reading and visiting museums. Follow her on Twitter at @meghanbartels.