Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Proba-2's View of the Hybrid Eclipse

Three partial solar eclipses are seen in this movie from ESA’s Proba-2 Sun-watching satellite as it dipped in and out of the Moon’s shadow during yesterday’s ‘hybrid’ solar eclipse.

A hybrid eclipse comprises a total solar eclipse and an ‘annular eclipse’, depending on an observer’s viewing location on Earth.

During a total solar eclipse, the Moon moves in front of the Sun as seen from Earth, their alignment and separation such that the much closer Moon appears large enough to block out the light from the much more distant Sun.

But from some locations, the apparent size of the Moon is slightly smaller than that of the Sun, leaving a bright ring around the dark disc of the Moon.

Meanwhile, from its vantage point in Earth orbit, Proba-2 saw several partial eclipses.

Proba-2 orbits Earth about 14.5 times per day, dipping in and out of the Moon’s shadow around the time of a solar eclipse.

The video was produced from images taken by Proba-2’s SWAP imager, which snaps the Sun in ultraviolet light. Stormy active regions on the Sun’s face are revealed, including sunspots, the roots of some large solar flares and ‘coronal mass ejections’ that are occasionally directed towards Earth.

Video credit: ESA

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