November 16, 2012

If you missed the live feed of the total solar eclipse on Nov. 13 or want to relive the spectacular moment, these two videos are right up your alley.

The European Space Agency’s sun-watching Proba-2 satellite saw three partial solar eclipses from its vantage point in space while NASA had cameras on the ground in Northern Australia to witness the full celestial event.

A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon comes between the Earth and sun, casting a shadow that blocks out the sun’s light.

Earlier this year, parts of Western North America experienced an annular solar eclipse, where the moon was slightly too far from the Earth to entirely cover the sun. When the moon completely obscures the sun’s face, the solar atmosphere, or corona, is visible.

The corona is an energetic field of plasma where temperatures exceed 1.8 million degrees Fahrenheit.

ESA’s Proba-2 is a tiny satellite that flies around the Earth 14.5 times per day, watching the sun in ultraviolet wavelengths to understand sunspots and solar flares.

During its orbits on Nov. 13, it passed through the moon’s shadow, dipping in and out a total of three times. The effect was always a partial eclipse, where the moon did not completely cover the sun, but beautiful nonetheless.

NASA’s video, in contrast, was taken on the ground where the total solar eclipse was visible. The film starts just before the moon passes completely in front of the sun. Once the sun is covered, the corona blares brightly.

Solar Eclipse over Queensland - Image Credit  Phil Hart

The plasma in the corona is constantly twisted and shaped by the sun’s magnetic field, which sometimes causes enormous explosions like solar flares and coronal mass ejections, where tons of charged particles are blown from the sun’s surface.
SOURCE

VIDEO Solar Eclipse

VIDEO Total Solar Eclipse Over Australia

Moon Shadow Sequence  Image Credit  Ben Cooper (Launch Photography)

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