FromQuarkstoQuasars

Astronomy Photo of the Day (APotD): 7/30/14 – Ever Seen a Total Solar Eclipse From Space?

Joshua FilmerJuly 30th 2014

On November 14th, 2012, after the total solar eclipse took place over northeastern Australia, some pretty spectacular images were released. However, none are as mind-blowing as this one is, which was obtained by eclipse hunters based in Romania who decided to mount a camera to a weather balloon and send it up 120,000 feet (36,800 meters) into the Earth’s stratosphere. What they recorded is nothing short of incredible.

Image Credit: Catalin Beldea, Marc Ulieriu, Daniel Toma et. al/Stiinta&Tehnica
Image Credit: Catalin Beldea, Marc Ulieriu, Daniel Toma et. al/Stiinta&Tehnica

When total solar eclipses take place, the moon passes in front of the Sun’s disk, obstructing most of its light for a small window of time. Those that are within the darkest part of the Moon’s shadow (called the umbra) are the ones that experience the total solar eclipse, while those that are within the more diffuse shadow of the perimeter (or the penumbra) will be able to see a partial solar eclipse.

In the video from the weather balloon, you can also see the curvature of the Earth and the shadow of the moon reflecting from Earth’s atmosphere. The Romanian Space Agency (ROSA) collaborated with Romania’s Stiinta&Tehnica.com to put the video together. ROSA provided all of the technical support (and some financial assistance) to get the project off the ground. The video was assembled by Daniel Toma. (Music by Shamil Elvenheim). Enjoy!

The next partial solar eclipse will happen later this year on October 23rd. It should be visible to those living in the Northern Pacific and in North America. The next total solar eclipse won’t manifest until Mar 20, 2015.

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