Here’s a unique view of the January 4 partial solar eclipse: ESA’s sun-watching microsatellite Proba-2 captured the conjunction of the spheres as the Sun, Moon and Earth all lined up in front of it. Shortly after the Moon partially blocked Proba-2’s view of the Sun, the satellite flew into Earth’s shadow. At that point – when the video seen here goes dark – the Sun, Moon, Earth and Proba-2 were all on the same line in space.
“This is a notable event,” said Bogdan Nicula of the Royal Observatory of Belgium (ROB), who calculated where and when this double-eclipse would happen. “It is a nice exercise to model the orbit and relative positions of all three celestial bodies.”
The images making up this video were observed by Proba-2 with its SWAP imager which operates at extreme-ultraviolet (EUV) wavelengths to monitor the swirling layer of the solar corona just above the Sun’s surface.
Proba-2 is less than a cubic meter in volume and SWAP is only the size of a large shoe box, so orbit determination is a challenge.
“We had to work very hard to get this high-resolution pointing needed for these images,” explained David Berghmans, SWAP’s principal investigator.