NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory was just doing what it usually does when something amazing happened right in front of it.
NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory just captured something truly extraordinary, and they’re sharing the amazing footage with the world. The job of the SDO is to stare at the sun and act as a space weather sentinel, but sometimes they get a shot of something else entirely, and in this case they were able to capture a partial solar eclipse in space after the moon passed in front of the satellite.
The video is embedded at the bottom of this post. It is from May 25, when the moon passed between the SDO and the sun in a brief partial solar eclipse. The lunar crossing took place over nearly an hour, and the moon covered up 89 percent of the sun at its peak.
It’s an appetizer for a spectacular event here on Earth, when the moon will completely block the sun in a total solar eclipse on Aug. 21 over the United States, which will be visible in a narrow, 70-mile-wide strip of land that crosses 19 states, from Oregon all the way to South Carolina.
“On May 25, 2017, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, saw a partial solar eclipse in space when it caught the moon passing in front of the sun,” the NASA statement reads. “The lunar transit lasted almost an hour, between 2:24 and 3:17 p.m. EDT, with the moon covering about 89 percent of the sun at the peak of its journey across the sun’s face. The moon’s crisp horizon can be seen from this view because the moon has no atmosphere to distort the sunlight.
“While the moon’s edge appears smooth in these images, it’s actually quite uneven. The surface of the moon is rugged, sprinkled with craters, valleys and mountains. Peer closely at the image, and you may notice the subtle, bumpy outline of these topographical features.”