Category: eclipse2017

Eclipse 2017 From Space

On Aug. 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse passed over North America. People throughout the continent captured incredible images of this celestial phenomenon. We and our partner agencies had a unique vantage point on the eclipse from space. Here are a few highlights from our fleet of satellites that observe the Sun, the Moon and Earth.

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Our Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, which watches the Sun nearly 24/7 from its orbit 3,000 miles above Earth, saw a partial eclipse on Aug. 21.

SDO sees the Moon cross in front of the Sun several times a year. However, these lunar transits don’t usually correspond to an eclipse here on Earth, and an eclipse on the ground doesn’t guarantee that SDO will see anything out of the ordinary. In this case, on Aug. 21, SDO did see the Moon briefly pass in front of the Sun at the same time that the Moon’s shadow passed over the eastern United States. From its view in space, SDO only saw 14 percent of the Sun blocked by the Moon, while most U.S. residents saw 60 percent blockage or more.

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Six people saw the eclipse from the International Space Station. Viewing the eclipse from orbit were NASA’s Randy Bresnik, Jack Fischer and Peggy Whitson, the European Space Agency’s Paolo Nespoli, and Roscosmos’ Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin and Sergey Ryazanskiy. The space station crossed the path of the eclipse three times as it orbited above the continental United States at an altitude of 250 miles.

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From a million miles out in space, our Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera, or EPIC, instrument captured 12 natural color images of the Moon’s shadow crossing over North America. EPIC is aboard NOAA’s Deep Space Climate Observatory, or DSCOVR, where it photographs the full sunlit side of Earth every day, giving it a unique view of the shadow from total solar eclipses. EPIC normally takes about 20 to 22 images of Earth per day, so this animation appears to speed up the progression of the eclipse.

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A ground-based image of the total solar eclipse – which looks like a gray ring – is superimposed over a red-toned image of the Sun’s atmosphere, called the corona. This view of the corona was captured by the European Space Agency and our Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, or SOHO. At center is an orange-toned image of the Sun’s surface as seen by our Solar Dynamics Observatory in extreme ultraviolet wavelengths of light.

During a total solar eclipse, ground-based telescopes can observe the lowest part of the solar corona in a way that can’t be done at any other time, as the Sun’s dim corona is normally obscured by the Sun’s bright light. The structure in the ground-based corona image — defined by giant magnetic fields sweeping out from the Sun’s surface — can clearly be seen extending into the outer image from the space-based telescope. The more scientists understand about the lower corona, the more they can understand what causes the constant outward stream of material called the solar wind, as well as occasional giant eruptions called coronal mass ejections.

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As millions of Americans watched the total solar eclipse that crossed the continental United States, the international Hinode solar observation satellite captured its own images of the awe-inspiring natural phenomenon. The images were taken with Hinode’s X-ray telescope, or XRT, as it flew above the Pacific Ocean, off the west coast of the United States, at an altitude of approximately 422 miles. Hinode is a joint endeavor by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, the European Space Agency, the United Kingdom Space Agency and NASA.

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During the total solar eclipse our Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO, in orbit around the Moon, turned one of its instruments towards Earth to capture an image of the Moon’s shadow over a large region of the United States.

As LRO crossed the lunar south pole heading north at 3,579 mph, the shadow of the Moon was racing across the United States at 1,500 mph. A few minutes later, LRO began a slow 180-degree turn to look back at Earth, capturing an image of the eclipse very near the location where totality lasted the longest. The spacecraft’s Narrow Angle Camera began scanning Earth at 2:25:30 p.m. EDT and completed the image 18 seconds later.

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Sensors on the polar-orbiting Terra and Suomi NPP satellites gathered data and imagery in swaths thousands of miles wide. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, or MODIS, sensor on Terra and Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite, or VIIRS, on Suomi NPP captured the data used to make this animation that alternates between two mosaics. Each mosaic is made with data from different overpasses that was collected at different times.

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This full-disk geocolor image from NOAA/NASA’s GOES-16 shows the shadow of the Moon covering a large portion of the northwestern U.S. during the eclipse.

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Our Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph, or IRIS, mission captured this view of the Moon passing in front of the Sun on Aug. 21.  

Check out nasa.gov/eclipse to learn more about the Aug. 21, 2017, eclipse along with future eclipses, and follow us on Twitter for more satellite images like these: @NASASun, @NASAMoon, and @NASAEarth.

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com.

From the unique vantage point of about 25,000 feet above Earth,…

From the unique vantage point of about 25,000 feet above Earth, our Associate Administrator of Science at NASA, Dr. Thomas Zurbuchen, witnessed the 2017 eclipse. He posted this video to his social media accounts saying, “At the speed of darkness…watch as #SolarEclipse2017 shadow moves across our beautiful planet at <1 mile/second; as seen from GIII aircraft”. 

Zurbuchen, along with NASA Acting Administrator Robert Lightfoot, Associate Administrator Lesa Roe traveled on a specially modified Gulfstream III aircraft flying north over the skies of Oregon.

In order to capture images of the event, the standard windows of the Gulfstream III were replaced with optical glass providing a clear view of the eclipse. This special glass limits glare and distortion of common acrylic aircraft windows. Heaters are aimed at the windows where the imagery equipment will be used to prevent icing that could obscure a clear view of the eclipse.

Learn more about the observations of the eclipse made from this aircraft HERE.

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Eclipse Across America

August 21, 2017, the United States experienced a solar eclipse! 

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An eclipse occurs when the Moon temporarily blocks the light from the Sun. Within the narrow, 60- to 70-mile-wide band stretching from Oregon to South Carolina called the path of totality, the Moon completely blocked out the Sun’s face; elsewhere in North America, the Moon covered only a part of the star, leaving a crescent-shaped Sun visible in the sky.

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During this exciting event, we were collecting your images and reactions online. 

Here are a few images of this celestial event…take a look:

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This composite image, made from 4 frames, shows the International Space Station, with a crew of six onboard, as it transits the Sun at roughly five miles per second during a partial solar eclipse from, Northern Cascades National Park in Washington. Onboard as part of Expedition 52 are: NASA astronauts Peggy Whitson, Jack Fischer, and Randy Bresnik; Russian cosmonauts Fyodor Yurchikhin and Sergey Ryazanskiy; and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Paolo Nespoli.

Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

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The Bailey’s Beads effect is seen as the moon makes its final move over the sun during the total solar eclipse on Monday, August 21, 2017 above Madras, Oregon.

Credit: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani

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This image from one of our Twitter followers shows the eclipse through tree leaves as crescent shaped shadows from Seattle, WA.

Credit: Logan Johnson

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“The eclipse in the palm of my hand”. The eclipse is seen here through an indirect method, known as a pinhole projector, by one of our followers on social media from Arlington, TX.

Credit: Mark Schnyder

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Through the lens on a pair of solar filter glasses, a social media follower captures the partial eclipse from Norridgewock, ME.

Credit: Mikayla Chase

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While most of us watched the eclipse from Earth, six humans had the opportunity to view the event from 250 miles above on the International Space Station. European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Paolo Nespoli captured this image of the Moon’s shadow crossing America.

Credit: Paolo Nespoli

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This composite image shows the progression of a partial solar eclipse over Ross Lake, in Northern Cascades National Park, Washington. The beautiful series of the partially eclipsed sun shows the full spectrum of the event. 

Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

In this video captured at 1,500 frames per second with a high-speed camera, the International Space Station, with a crew of six onboard, is seen in silhouette as it transits the sun at roughly five miles per second during a partial solar eclipse, Monday, Aug. 21, 2017 near Banner, Wyoming.

Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky

To see more images from our NASA photographers, visit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/nasahqphoto/albums/72157685363271303

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com

Celebrate Today’s Solar Eclipse With NASA

Today, Aug. 21, the Moon’s shadow is sweeping across North America. People across the continent have the chance to see a partial solar eclipse if skies are clear.

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For those within the narrow path of totality, stretching from Oregon to South Carolina, that partial eclipse will become total for a few brief moments. 

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Make sure you’re using proper solar filters (not sunglasses) or an indirect viewing method if you plan to watch the eclipse in person.

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Wherever you are, you can also watch today’s eclipse online with us at nasa.gov/eclipselive. Starting at noon ET, our show will feature views from our research aircraft, high-altitude balloons, satellites and specially-modified telescopes, as well as live reports from cities across the country and the International Space Station.

Learn all about today’s eclipse at eclipse2017.nasa.gov.

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com

You don’t necessarily need fancy equipment to watch one of…

You don’t necessarily need fancy equipment to watch one of the sky’s
most awesome shows: a solar eclipse. With just a few simple supplies,
you can make a pinhole camera that allows you to view the event safely
and easily.

Before you get started, remember: You should never look at the Sun
directly without equipment that’s specifically designed for solar
viewing. Do not use standard binoculars or telescopes to watch the
eclipse, as the light could severely damage your eyes. Sunglasses also
do NOT count as protection when attempting to look directly at the Sun.

Stay safe and still enjoy the Sun’s stellar show by creating your very
own pinhole camera. It’s easy! 

See another pinhole camera tutorial at https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/edu/learn/project/how-to-make-a-pinhole-camera/

Watch this and other eclipse videos on our YouTube channel:  https://youtu.be/vWMf5rYDgpc?list=PL_8hVmWnP_O2oVpjXjd_5De4EalioxAUi

A pinhole camera is just one of many viewing options. Learn more at https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/safety 

Music credit: Apple of My Eye by Frederik Wiedmann

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com

Everything You Need to Know About the Aug. 21 Eclipse

On Aug. 21, all of North America will experience a solar eclipse.

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If skies are clear, eclipse-watchers will be able to see a partial solar eclipse over several hours, and some people – within the narrow path of totality – will see a total solar eclipse for a few moments.

How to Watch

It’s never safe to look at the Sun, and an eclipse is no exception. During a partial eclipse (or on any regular day) you must use special solar filters or an indirect viewing method to watch the Sun.

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If you have solar viewing glasses, check to make sure they’re safe and undamaged before using them to look at the Sun. Make sure you put them on before looking up at the Sun, and look away before removing them. Eclipse glasses can be used over your regular eyeglasses, but they should never be used when looking through telescopes, binoculars, camera viewfinders, or any other optical device.

If you don’t have eclipse glasses, you can still watch the eclipse indirectly! You can make a pinhole projector out of a box, or use any other object with tiny holes – like a piece of cardstock with a hole, or your outstretched, interlaced fingers – to project an image of the partially eclipsed Sun onto the ground.

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Of course, if it’s cloudy (or you’d just rather stay inside), you can watch the whole thing online with us at nasa.gov/eclipselive. Tune in starting at noon ET.

If you’re in the path of totality, there will be a few brief moments when it is safe to look directly at the eclipse. Only once the Moon has completely covered the Sun and there is no light shining through is it safe to look at the eclipse. Make sure you put your eclipse glasses back on or return to indirect viewing before the first flash of sunlight appears around the Moon’s edge.

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Why do eclipses happen?

A solar eclipse happens when the Moon passes directly between the Sun and Earth, casting its shadow down on Earth’s surface. The path of totality – where the Moon completely covers the Sun – is traced out by the Moon’s inner shadow, the umbra. People within the Moon’s outer shadow, the penumbra, can see a partial eclipse.

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The Moon’s orbit around Earth is tilted by about five degrees, meaning that its shadow usually doesn’t fall on Earth. Only when the Moon lines up exactly between the Sun and Earth do we see an eclipse.

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Though the Sun is about 400 times wider than the Moon, it is also about 400 times farther away, making their apparent sizes match up almost exactly. This is what allows the Moon to block out the Sun’s bright face, while revealing the comparatively faint, pearly-white corona.

The Science of Eclipses

Eclipses are a beautiful sight to see, and they’re also helpful for our scientists, so we’re funding eleven ground-based science investigations to learn more about the Sun and Earth.

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Total solar eclipses reveal the innermost regions of the Sun’s atmosphere, the corona. Though it’s thought to house the processes that kick-start much of the space weather that can influence Earth, as well as heating the whole corona to extraordinarily high temperatures, we can’t study this region at any other time. This is because coronagraphs – the instruments we use to study the Sun’s atmosphere by creating artificial eclipses – must cover up much of the corona, as well as the Sun’s face in order to produce clear images.

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Eclipses also give us the chance to study Earth’s atmosphere under uncommon conditions: the sudden loss of solar radiation from within the Moon’s shadow. We’ll be studying the responses of both Earth’s ionosphere – the region of charged particles in the upper atmosphere – and the lower atmosphere.

Learn all about the Aug. 21 eclipse at eclipse2017.nasa.gov, and follow @NASASun on Twitter and NASA Sun Science on Facebook for more. Watch the eclipse through the eyes of NASA at nasa.gov/eclipselive starting at 12 PM ET on Aug. 21. 

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com

On Monday, August 21, 2017, our nation will be treated to a…

On Monday, August 21, 2017, our nation will be treated to a total eclipse of the Sun. The eclipse will be visible – weather permitting – across all of North America. The entire continent will experience at least a partial eclipse lasting two to three hours. Halfway through the event, anyone within a 60 to 70 mile-wide path from Oregon to South Carolina will experience a total eclipse. During those brief moments when the moon completely blocks the Sun’s bright face for 2+ minutes, day will turn into night, making visible the otherwise hidden solar corona, the Sun’s outer atmosphere. Bright stars and planets will become visible as well. This is truly one of nature’s most awesome sights. The eclipse provides a unique opportunity to study the Sun, Earth, Moon and their interaction because of the eclipse’s long path over land coast to coast.

Scientists will be able to take ground-based and airborne observations over a period of about 90 minutes to complement the wealth of data provided by NASA assets.

Watch this and other eclipse videos on our YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/8jaxiha8-rY?list=PL_8hVmWnP_O2oVpjXjd_5De4EalioxAUi

To learn all about the 2017 Total Eclipse: https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/

Music credit: Ascending Lanterns by Philip Hochstrate

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com

How to Safely Watch the Aug. 21 Solar Eclipse

On Aug. 21, 2017, a solar eclipse will be visible in North America. Throughout the continent, the Moon will cover part – or all – of the Sun’s super-bright face for part of the day.

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Since it’s never safe to look at the partially eclipsed or uneclipsed Sun, everyone who plans to watch the eclipse needs a plan to watch it safely. One of the easiest ways to watch an eclipse is solar viewing glasses – but there are a few things to check to make sure your glasses are safe:

  •  Glasses should have an ISO 12312-2 certification
  • They should also have the manufacturer’s name and address, and you can check if the manufacturer has been verified by the American Astronomical Society
  • Make sure they have no scratches or damage
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To use solar viewing glasses, make sure you put them on before looking up at the Sun, and look away before you remove them. Proper solar viewing glasses are extremely dark, and the landscape around you will be totally black when you put them on – all you should see is the Sun (and maybe some types of extremely bright lights if you have them nearby).

Never use solar viewing glasses while looking through a telescope, binoculars, camera viewfinder, or any other optical device. The concentrated solar rays will damage the filter and enter your eyes, causing serious injury. But you can use solar viewing glasses on top of your regular eyeglasses, if you use them!

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If you don’t have solar viewing glasses, there are still ways to watch, like making your own pinhole projector. You can make a handheld box projector with just a few simple supplies – or simply hold any object with a small hole (like a piece of cardstock with a pinhole, or even a colander) above a piece of paper on the ground to project tiny images of the Sun.

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Of course, you can also watch the entire eclipse online with us. Tune into nasa.gov/eclipselive starting at noon ET on Aug. 21! 

For people in the path of totality, there will be a few brief moments when it is safe to look directly at the eclipse. Only once the Moon has completely covered the Sun and there is no light shining through is it safe to look at the eclipse. Make sure you put your eclipse glasses back on or return to indirect viewing before the first flash of sunlight appears around the Moon’s edge.

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You can look up the length of the total eclipse in your area to help you set a time for the appropriate length of time. Remember – this only applies to people within the path of totality.

Everyone else will need to use eclipse glasses or indirect viewing throughout the entire eclipse!

Photographing the Eclipse

Whether you’re an amateur photographer or a selfie master, try out these tips for photographing the eclipse.  

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#1 — Safety first: Make sure you have the required solar filter to protect your camera.

#2 — Any camera is a good camera, whether it’s a high-end DSLR or a camera phone – a good eye and vision for the image you want to create is most important.

#3 — Look up, down, and all around. As the Moon slips in front of the Sun, the landscape will be bathed in long shadows, creating eerie lighting across the landscape. Light filtering through the overlapping leaves of trees, which creates natural pinholes, will also project mini eclipse replicas on the ground. Everywhere you can point your camera can yield exceptional imagery, so be sure to compose some wide-angle photos that can capture your eclipse experience.

#4 — Practice: Be sure you know the capabilities of your camera before Eclipse Day. Most cameras, and even many camera phones, have adjustable exposures, which can help you darken or lighten your image during the tricky eclipse lighting. Make sure you know how to manually focus the camera for crisp shots.

#5 —Upload your eclipse images to NASA’s Eclipse Flickr Gallery and relive the eclipse through other peoples’ images.

Learn all about the Aug. 21 eclipse at eclipse2017.nasa.gov, and follow @NASASun on Twitter and NASA Sun Science on Facebook for more. Watch the eclipse through the eyes of NASA at nasa.gov/eclipselive starting at 12 PM ET on Aug. 21.

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com

Thanks everyone for your fantastic questions! Sorry I couldn’t…

Thanks everyone for your fantastic questions! Sorry I couldn’t answer all of them. I hope you have fun on Monday, Aug. 21st and share your photos and experiences with us! https://www.flickr.com/groups/nasa-eclipse2017/ 

Safe viewing and talk to you later!  https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/safety 

I was looking at the GLOBE Observer experiments for citizens and was wondering how the eclipse affects the cloud type? Or, I guess, why is that an important thing to measure? Thank you for answering our questions!

As my dad likes to say, I went to college to take up space, so I’m not sure what happens in the atmosphere. However, I think that the atmospheric scientists are interested in the types of waves that will be set up by the temperature gradients generated by the eclipse. So as totality occurs you get a very fast temperature drop in a localized area. I believe this can set up strong winds which may affect the type of clouds and/or their shapes. This is going to be the best-observed eclipse! And one thing I’ve learned as a scientist is that you never know what you’ll find in your data so collect as much of it as possible even if you aren’t sure what you’ll find. That is sometimes when you get the most exciting results! Thanks for downloading the app and helping to collect the data!