The May 2012 Annular Eclipse as Seen From Space

by Nancy Atkinson on May 21, 2012

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A shadow over Earth near the maximum during the Annular Solar Eclipse of May 20-21, 2012. Credit: Planetary Habitability Laboratory at UPR Arecibo, NASA, EUMETSAT, NERC Satellite Receiving Station, University of Dundee.

Here’s a few unique vantage points of seeing the annular solar eclipse on May 20/21 2012. Above, one of the geostationary satellites called MTSAT (Multi-Functional Transport Satellite) built by Japan was able to capture the shadow over Earth near the maximum of the eclipse of May 20-21, 2012. It’s rather amazing how small the shadow is! “This image was generated during a color test of our Visible Daily-Earth project,” wrote Abel Mendez Torres on the PHL@UPR Arecibo website “and was taken by the MTSAT on May 21, 2012 @ 000 UTC (May 20, 2012 @ 8:00 PM EDT). Color correction was based on NASA Visible Earth datasets.” The Planetary Habitability Laboratory (PHL) is a research and educational virtual laboratory that studies of the habitability of Earth, the Solar System, and extrasolar planets, and @ProfAbelMendez is a very interesting person to follow on Twitter.

Below are a couple of videos: even though you are not supposed to look directly at the Sun during an eclipse, the PROBA-2 satellite did with an awesome result, and astronaut Don Pettit’s exceptional view of the eclipse from the International Space Station, as well as a view from the Hinode and Terra satellites:

ESA’s space weather microsatellite Proba-2 observed the solar eclipse on the evening of May 20, 2012. It passed through the Moon’s shadow a total of four times, imaging a sequence of partial solar eclipses in the process. The first contact was made on Sunday May 20 at 21:09 GMT. The last contact finished at 03:04 GMT.

Don Pettit’s view:

The joint JAXA/NASA Hinode mission captured this images of an annular eclipse of the Sun on May 20, 2012. Credit: Hinode/JAXA/NASA

Also, the JAXA/NASA Hinode mission captured this video of the eclipse.

Here’s a view of the eclipse over the North Pacific Ocean as see by the Terra satellite:

Credit: NASA/GSFC/Jeff Schmaltz/MODIS Land Rapid Response Team

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Terra satellite captured this true-color image of the annular solar eclipse over the North Pacific Ocean on May 20, 2012. Credit: NASA/GSFC/Jeff Schmaltz/MODIS Land Rapid Response Team

Make sure you check out our gallery of eclipse images from around the world, too!

About 

Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also is the host of the NASA Lunar Science Institute podcast and works with Astronomy Cast. Nancy is also a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

Olaf2 May 21, 2012 at 4:11 PM

Ohnooo the LHC black hole! We are doomed. LOL

Aqua4U May 21, 2012 at 6:17 PM

I took an old refractor, cut a round hole in an aluminum pie tin and mounted that on the front of the scope. Then I took a piece of PVC tubing, which fits perfectly over the eyepiece, drilled 4 holes in the tubing and mounted some old bicycle spokes equally spaced around the circumference. Bent correctly, the spokes hold a piece of 8″X8″ pure white art board. Usually I use this set up to view the full moon… I like looking and even photographing the enlarged image. Well… this set up also worked perfectly for seeing the eclipse! The projected image of the crescent sun was fun to watch. Neighbors stopped by and shared the view…. the lighting was VERY interesting during the eclipse – everybody said so!

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