On the ground, the total solar eclipse of November 13/14, 2012 was only visible to only to observers in northern Australia. But ESA’s Sun-watching satellite Proba-2 enjoyed three partial eclipses from its vantage point in space.
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.
Since Proba-2 orbits Earth about 14.5 times per day, it can dip in and out of the Moon’s shadow around the time of a solar eclipse. The constant change in viewing angle of Proba-2 meant that the satellite passed through the shadow three times during the eclipse yesterday, as shown in the video above.
ESA says the apparent noise in the movie results from high energy particles hitting Proba-2’s electronics as the spacecraft passes through the South Atlantic Anomaly. The dimming in the movie is an effect as part of the satellite’s orbit passes through the shadow of the Earth.
Proba-2 image of the solar disc taken during the total eclipse of July 2010, combined with ground-based images taken at the same time to reveal the exquisite details of the solar corona. Credit: ESA
Read more about Proba-2’s day of eclipses from ESA.
View of the eclipse from Clifton Beach in Queensland, Australia. Credit: Camilla the Rubber Chicken
Here are some images and video from the total solar eclipse from today, November 13/14, 2012 (depending on where you were), which was visible only from the northern part of Australia. The image above comes from Camilla_SDO, the mascot of the Solar Dynamics Observatory mission. “Clifton Beach was cheering during the totality and Diamond Ring,” Camilla tweeted.
We’ll be adding more images as they become available.
Here are some photos via Robert Hollow, education and public outreach specialist who traveled to Maitland Downs in Queensland, Australia with the “Under a Darkened Star” Student Astronomy Conference, sponsored by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO):
Totality from Maitland Downs. Credit: Robert Hollow/CSIRO.
An eclipsed Sun rises over a ridge in Maitland Downs, Queensland, Australia. Credit: Robert Hollow/CSIRO.
A ‘wedding ring’ at end of totality from Maitland Downs. Credit: Robert Hollow/CSIRO
A view of the Sun after totality through a refractor telescope. Credit: Robert Hollow/CSIRO
Screenshot from the webcast feed from Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef, Australia at 20:30 UTC.
A montage of the Solar Eclipse, sent in by Julia, as seen from Adelaide, South Australia. Click to see a larger version.
Daniel Fischer traveled to Australia to watch the eclipse, and described the experience as “Pure drama with complicated clouds – slender solar crescents seen moments before C2 and after C3 but totality was invisible.” Here are a few of his images:
Eclipse watchers at Wangetti Beach in Queensland, Australia. Credit: Daniel Fischer.
Approaching totality, through the clouds at Wangetti Beach in Queensland, Australia. Credit: Daniel Fischer.
A sliver of a crescent, nearing totality with more clouds at Wangetti Beach in Queensland, Australia. Credit: Daniel Fischer.
Ian Musgrave from Adelaide, Australia traveled to Cairns in Queensland just for the eclipse, and was completely clouded out, but still took this interesting picture. “The sky went eerily dark, and the patch of sun on the sea went out,” he wrote on his blog. “Afterwards, the cloud went away just as the Sun appeared from behind the Moon. Amazing.”
Below is a group of images from Shahrin Ahmad, who wrote us, “With the weather in Cairns not promising, we decided to go inland to Mareeba, with a slightly shorter eclipse totality duration of 1 minute 39 seconds. We were lucky because the sky here was clear and free from clouds. With the Moon so low to the horizon, this eclipse seems ‘larger’ than usual, due to the Moon Illusion effect. It was certainly a spectacular eclipse!”
Diamond Ring effect seen at Mareeba. Credit: Shahrin Ahmad
Just moments before second contact. Credit: Shahrin Ahmad
Prominences, loops of plasma are seen emanating from the Sun’s limb during the eclipse. Credit: Shahrin Ahmad
Moonshadow. Credit: Shahrin Ahmad
More images from the webcasts:
Screenshot from the Panasonic feed from Fitzroy Island during totality.
Screenshot of NASA’s eclipse webcast feed just the Sun emerged from totality over Palm Cove, Australia. Via Jason Major.
Screenshot of the feed from Fitzroy Island at 20:18 UTC.
Watch live, even if you can’t be in northern Australia to see the total solar eclipse. The above feed is from the Slooh Space Camera team, live from Cairns, Australia – the only land site in the world to view totality. Slooh has a three-person crew at Cairns, including photographer Anjali Bermain, Astronomy Magazine’s Bob Berman, author of “The Sun’s Heartbeat”, and experienced astro-imager Matt Francis of the Prescott Observatory. Dr. Lucie Green, solar researcher at the Mullard Space Science Laboratory, will join the broadcast along with Slooh’s President, Patrick Paolucci, and Slooh’s Public Outreach Coordinator, Paul Cox.
Scientists and interested skywatchers have been flocking to Cairns, Australia to witness one of the most spellbinding astronomical sights: a total solar eclipse. The November 13/14 total solar eclipse will only be visible in its entirety to ground-based observers watching from northern Australia, but several webcasts will be available so that people around the world can watch as well. At about 22:11:48 UT on November 13 (it will be the morning of Nov. 14th in Australia) the Moon will pass directly in front of the Sun, and totality will only last about 2 minutes, with the Sun having risen just 14 degrees above the eastern horizon. The total time of the event, from first contact to fourth contact (the end of a solar eclipse when the disk of the Moon completely passes from the disk of the Sun) will be about 3 hours.
During totality the Sun appears to have a white halo – a rare glimpse of the Sun’s million-degree plasma atmosphere, or corona, which is too washed out by the Sun’s brightness to be observed normally.
During an eclipse, “the Moon reveals the innermost corona, which manmade coronagraphs have trouble seeing,” said Shadia Habbal of the Institute for Astronomy in Hawaii, who will be in Australia for the event. “That is where all the magnetic field and physical processes responsible for heating the corona are evolving most rapidly.”
For this total solar eclipse, the path of totality will be about 174 km (108 miles) wide and will cover 14,500 km (9,000 miles) over a 3-hour period.
Proba-2 image of the solar disc taken during the total eclipse of July 2010, combined with ground-based images taken at the same time to reveal the exquisite details of the solar corona. Credit: ESA
Slooh will be having their webcast at Slooh.com, starting Tuesday, November 13th at 11:30 AM PST / 2:30 PM EST / 19:30 UTC. Viewers can watch the show on their PC or mobile device and will have the ability to ask questions to the Slooh team, including the crew located in Cairns, using the Slooh Conversations section on the Slooh homepage. Viewers will also be able to snap the live pictures directly from the Slooh homepage using Pinterest. The broadcast team includes Patrick Paolucci, Bob Berman, Lucie Green, Matt Francis and Paul Cox.
Another feed will be from the Cairns Eclipse 2012 Ustream channel, broadcast from over Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef, Australia: http://www.ustream.tv/CairnsEclipse2012, and their website is http://www.eclipse2012.org.au
This channel will be live from 11 a.m. PT (2 p.m. ET) on Nov. 13, and 5 am November 14th 2012 (AEST). It is considered the official destination website for the total solar Eclipse over Cairns and Great Barrier Reef will feature Terry Cuttle from the Astronomical Association of Queensland as the host. He will be joined by Kate Russo (eclipse chaser and author), Ben Southall (winner of the ‘Best Job in the World’ promotion and tourism ambassador), Richard Fitzpatrick (an underwater cameraman, will be live from under water) and Alan Hale (from Hale-Bopp comet who is studying comets close to the Sun which can only be seen during an eclipse).
Panasonic’s project, described as, “Filming the Sun, using the Sun” aims to capture and broadcast to the world a solar eclipse using only the power of sunlight. They’re using Panasonic’s high efficiency solar power-generating system, “HIT” to generate power with a portable battery back for power storage. They’ll then be able to broadcast the eclipse images captured on a Lumix GH2.
2012 Eclipse live from a Cairns Hot Air Balloon http://www.hotair.com.au
Up to a dozen hot air balloons floating west of Cairns, Queensland Australia, with visitors from 20 different countries will be part of a live webcast of the 2012 total solar eclipse.
Cairns City Eclipse 2012 webcam http://www.eclipsecairns.com
Can’t make it to Cairns to see the Eclipse? No problem! Just check back on November 14 before 6:39am AEST (GMT+10) to see it live on their webcam.
GLORIA Project http://live.gloria-project.eu
Videos and pictures of the eclipse will be broadcast live on the internet starting at 20:30 UT. Additionally meteorological data will be collected to allow students to perform an interactive experiment. During the broadcast there will be live commentary in Spanish and English.
Despite a horrendous weather forecast, the clouds parted – at least partially – just in the nick of time for a massive crowd of astronomy and space enthusiasts gathered at Princeton University to see for themselves the dramatic start of the Transit of Venus shortly after 6 p.m. EDT as it arrived at and crossed the limb of the Sun.
And what a glorious view it was for the well over 500 kids, teenagers and adults who descended on the campus of Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey for a viewing event jointly organized by the Astrophysics Dept and the Amateur Astronomers Association of Princeton (AAAP), the local astronomy club to which I belong.
See Transit of Venus astrophotos snapped from Princeton, above and below by Astrophotographer and Prof. Bob Vanderbei of Princeton U and a AAAP club member.
It was gratifying to see so many children and whole families come out at dinner time to witness this ultra rare celestial event with their own eyes – almost certainly a last-in-a-lifetime experience that won’t occur again for another 105 years until 2117. The crowd gathered on the roof of Princeton’s Engineering Dept. parking deck – see photos
For the next two and a half hours until sunset at around 8:30 p.m. EDT, we enjoyed spectacular glimpses as Venus slowly and methodically moved across the northern face of the sun as the racing clouds came and went on numerous occasions, delighting everyone up to the very end when Venus was a bit more than a third of the way through the solar transit.
Indeed the flittering clouds passing by in front of Venus and the Sun’s active disk made for an especially eerie, otherworldly and constantly changing scene for all who observed through about a dozen AAAP provided telescopes properly outfitted with special solar filters for safely viewing the sun.
As part of this public outreach program, NASA also sent me special solar glasses to hand out as a safe and alternative way to directly view the sun during all solar eclipses and transits through your very own eyes – but not optical aids such as cameras or telescopes.
Altogether the Transit lasted 6 hours and 40 minutes for those in the prime viewing locations such as Hawaii – from where NASA was streaming a live Transit of Venus webcast.
You should NEVER look directly at the sun through any telescopes or binoculars not equipped with special eye protection – because that can result in severe eye injury or permanent blindness!
We in Princeton were quite lucky to observe anything because other astro friends and fans in nearby areas such as Philadelphia, PA and Brooklyn, NY reported seeing absolutely nothing for this last-in-a-lifetime celestial event.
Princeton’s Astrophysics Department organized a series of lectures prior to the observing sessions about the Transit of Venus and how NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope currently uses the transit method to detect and discover well over a thousand exoplanet and planet candidates – a few of which are the size of Earth and even as small as Mars, the Red Planet.
NASA’s Curiosity rover is currently speeding towards Mars for an August 6 landing in search of signs of life. Astronomers goal with Kepler’s transit detection method is to search for Earth-sized planets in the habitable zone that could potentially harbor life !
So, NASA and astronomers worldwide are using the Transit of Venus in a scientifically valuable way – beyond mere enjoyment – to help refine their planet hunting techniques.
Historically, scientists used the Transit of Venus over the past few centuries to help determine the size of our Solar System.
See more event photos from the local daily – The Trenton Times – here
And those who stayed late after sunset – and while the Transit of Venus was still visibly ongoing elsewhere – were treated to an extra astronomical bonus – at 10:07 p.m. EDT the International Space Station (ISS) coincidentally flew overhead and was visible between more break in the clouds.
Of course clouds are no issue if you’re watching the Transit of Venus from the ISS or the Hinode spacecraft. See this Hinode Transit image published on APOD on June 9 and enhanced by Marco Di Lorenzo.
During the May 20 annular eclipse, two teams sent a duo of high altitude balloons to simultaneously capture the event, and they got some amazing pictures. Not only did the two imaging systems on the balloons take pictures of the eclipse, but they also took pictures of each other, with both balloons near the edge of space. “Our goal was to launch 2 capsules to the edge of space to shoot photos and high-definition videos during the annular solar eclipse,” David Gonzales of Project Soar told Universe Today.
Project Soar has sent seven balloon launches with their reusable PURSUIT capsule to take images of Earth and space. They teamed up with Larry Grater who sent his North Texas Near Space capsule NTNS-1 on its maiden flight.
“In several of the images, you can see NTNS-1 under its balloon as shot from PURSUIT against a pitch black sky,” Gonzales said via email. “Despite the sun being high in the sky during the flights, you can see how dark the ground got in some of the images due to sun being mostly covered by our moon. Unlike a total eclipse though, there is no obvious dark spot as the transition between full annular and partial eclipse around the center-line is very gradual and not as sharp as in a total eclipse.”
Also visible is the eclipse in various stages as Sun-shaped lens flare in many the images.
The launch sites were chosen just hours before launch to ensure the trajectories would stay on the center-line for the eclipse and avoid overflying any restricted airspace, Gonzales said.
“We had a particularly challenging countdown as 2 balloons had to be filled with Hydrogen for a very narrow launch window,” he said.
Both capsules took to the skies on time from an East Albuquerque hiking park, and then had to immediately clear the Sandia mountains right after liftoff before continuing their journeys to the edge of space. As the team and other onlookers enjoyed the annular eclipse from the ground, the two balloons shot photos and videos from near space.
Here’s a compilation of the HD video that was shot, with an amazing view of the PURSUIT capsule falling after burst at high altitude (at 8:53). “NTNS-1 caught PURSUIT right after burst in the video,” Gonzales said. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen imagery of a capsule falling after burst at high altitude before.” Other key events in the video are NTNS-1 and PURSUIT close pass at 0:52, the PURSUIT Capsule visible at 7:24, PURSUIT descent at 8:53, NTNS-1 Burst at 11:41
Eclipse Soar was a collaborative effort between Project Soar of San Antonio and North Texas Near Space of Dallas.
Early on June 4th, the full “Strawberry” Moon passed through the shadow of Earth, producing a partial lunar eclipse. It was visible across the ‘Pacific’ side of Earth, from Asia to North America, and began at about 10:00 UTC (3:00 a.m. PDT), reaching its maximum at 11:03 UTC (4:03 a.m. PDT). At most about 38% of the Moon’s diameter was in shadow.
Some great images are coming in, like this collage of 10 photos from Genaro Grajeda in Mexico City, taken from 3:55 a.m. to 6:35 a.m.
See more below, and for any of the images, click for larger versions and/or the original version!
Prolific and accomplished astrophotographer John Chumack traveled from his home in Ohio to Tucson, Arizona to capture the eclipse. Compare these two images he took, the first with 1/160th of a second exposure, the second with a half second exposure.
“I took many shots, and here are a couple,” said Chumack, “one showing normal exposure of the Moon, but something dark is covering it…and the second shot was deliberately over exposed to reveal the culprit — Earth’s Shadow covering up part of the Moon during Maximum Eclipse for us in Tucson.”
Want to get your astrophoto featured on Universe Today? Join our Flickr group, or send us your images by email (this means you’re giving us permission to post them). Please explain what’s in the picture, when you took it, the equipment you used, etc.
We’re still loving all the eclipse photos and videos coming in: Astrophotographer Ted Judah put together this great video showing his views of the May 20, 2012 annular solar eclipse at Sundial Bridge in Redding, California. Not only are there spectacular shots of the eclipse — including views of the simmering surface of the Sun in the annulus of bright light surrounding the Moon at the maximum phase (starting at about 4:00 in the video) — but he shares the joy of astronomy outreach, as Ted set up his telescope and allowed passersby to see eclipsed Sun for themselves. Great music, too by Peter Adams titled, appropriately, “Shoot the Moon.”
We’ve added loads of images and videos to our eclipse gallery from last night annular solar eclipse, but this one stands on its own. An amazing timelapse video by Cory Poole was made from 700 photographs taken with a Coronado Solar Max 60 Double Stack telescope. Usually, the chromosphere can’t usually be seen due to the overwhelming brightness of the photosphere, and to see it requires special equipment. Thankfully, Poole has it: “The Telescope has a very narrow bandpass allowing you to see the chromosphere and not the much brighter photosphere below it,” Poole wrote on YouTube. Additionally, the special hydrogen alpha filter Poole used “only allows light that is created when hydrogen atoms go from the 2nd excited state to the 1st excited state.”
The chromosphere is the red circle around the outside of the Sun; its red coloring is caused by the abundance of hydrogen. Watch how the chromosphere appears along the outline of the Moon, too!
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 [email protected] 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.