Image taken by SkyCam on sol 99. Guessing they are stars?
paulhammond5155, Top contributor
The SkyCam is a modified (flight-spare) HazCam from Curiosity Rover. Therefore, I think it would be surprising if any stars were visible in this frame. To resolve stars the exposure duration would need to be fairly long, if that was the case we would see all the bright spots tracking around the sky as Mars rotated (the camera is fixed to the deck and does not move).
I believe it might be able to resolve the Martian moons, possibly some of the brighter planets and maybe fortuitously capture an incoming meteorite. Most of what we are seeing is probably noise and cosmic ray hits.
I’d really like these to be stars and galaxies as one comment mentioned, but to me it seems unlikely. But hey what do I know?
I’d like to be wrong in this case 🙂
EDIT: I have added the internal ring (anulus) and other optical shields that would mask areas of all exposed SkyCam images. These areas are masked to prevent stray light from entering the camera. But we can see in the image shared that there are star-like features etc where there should be none. Look closely at the original image and we can make out the masked areas of the lens (they’re a little darker. Each SkyCam image also captures part of the mast, again that should mask light entering the camera from stars etc LINK