Why settle for a single solar eclipse, when you can have a double solar eclipse?
For the first time in history, NASA has given us a glimpse of this rare event that you can only see from space because it requires a view of both the moon and Earth. You can see in the photo below the moon’s shadow on the left and the much larger shadow of Earth at the very top:
Last Saturday Earth had a partial solar eclipse that took place over the bottom half of the world in South Africa and Antarctica.
While most of us didn’t see the event, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory witnessed something exceptional.
For the last five years, SDO has been orbiting Earth from a distance of about 22,000 miles and snapping, on average, one picture every second of the sun’s surface. It has taken over 100 million photos, so far.
But on Sept. 13, the Earth and moon got in the way.
You can see in the animation below that at first, the Earth completely obstructed SDO’s view. But as Earth finally passed by, the moon had not quite completed its transit, which is how SDO got the amazing shot in the photo above.
- NASA Goddard on YouTube
“Though SDO sees dozens of Earth eclipses and several lunar transits each year, this is the first time ever that the two have coincided,” NASA stated in a press release of the event.
The reason is because the alignment between SDO, Earth, the moon, and the sun had to be just right for SDO’s camera to see all three celestial bodies in a row.
Check out the video that NASA made of the double eclipse on YouTube or below: