NASA Observatory Catches Rare Double Eclipse From Space (Video)

September 5, 2016 Updated: September 5, 2016

Here on Earth, we are lucky if can catch one eclipse, let alone a double eclipse. But a NASA observatory was recently able to witness such a phenomenon from space.

NASA notes, “Early in the morning of Sept. 1, 2016, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, caught both Earth and the moon crossing in front of the sun. SDO keeps a constant eye on the sun, but during SDO’s semiannual eclipse seasons, Earth briefly blocks SDO’s line of sight each day – a consequence of SDO’s geosynchronous orbit. On Sept. 1, Earth completely eclipsed the sun from SDO’s perspective just as the moon began its journey across the face of the sun. The end of the Earth eclipse happened just in time for SDO to catch the final stages of the lunar transit.”

While Earth and the moon appear dark, the way their edges appear are quite distinct. NASA explains, “Earth’s is fuzzy, while the moon’s is sharp and distinct. This is because Earth’s atmosphere absorbs some of the sun’s light, creating an ill-defined edge. On the other hand, the moon has no atmosphere, producing a crisp horizon. ”