ESA’s Proba-2 recorded three partial solar eclipses last night

esas-proba-2-recorded-three-partial-solar-eclipses-last-night

Proba-2 sun observing satellite experienced three partial solar eclipses last night while ground-observers watching from northern Australia witnessed a total solar eclipse. ESA’s Proba-2 satellite passed through the Moon’s shadow a total of three times during the eclipse yesterday. Proba-2 orbits the Earth about 14.5 times per day and can dip in and out of the Moon’s shadow around the time of a solar eclipse. As the Sun was never completely covered up from Proba-2’s vantage point, each eclipse was only partial and at the time of the total eclipse as seen from the ground, Proba-2 saw the full disc of the Sun.

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. 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.

Observing in visible light extremely close to the solar surface is only possible from the ground during eclipses when the bright solar disc is temporarily obscured, briefly exposing the Sun’s bright atmosphere, or corona, and the red glow of the chromosphere.

Australians will have another chance to see an annular  solar eclipse in May 2013. Europe will have to wait until November 2013 before the opportunity arises to see a partial solar eclipse across much of the south.

Source: ESA News

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