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SYFY WIRE Bad Astronomy

Solar Eclipse Pictures and Video to Make Your Brain Happy

By Phil Plait

On March 20, 2015, the Moon passed in front of the Sun ... if you were on the right spot on the planet. Or, better, above it!

Let's start off with a special treat: From the ground, master astrophotographer Thierry Legault took video of the International Space Station crossing the Sun during the eclipse!

Incredible. Legault is really, really good at this sort of thing and traveled to Spain to catch the fraction-of-a-second event. 

Most of the U.S. would've been asleep during the eclipse overnight, which graced the skies of Europe, northern Africa, and Asia ...where for the most part it was only partial; it was total in the waters north of Europe and Asia. 

However, some places did see a total eclipse, like in Longyearbyen, a town in Svalbard, an island a few hundred kilometers north of mainland Norway. My pal Tunç Tezel was there and got this great shot:

The European Space Agency has a lot of images and video on its site, including this one taken by its Proba-2 satellite using a camera sensitive to the far ultraviolet:

There's a video of the eclipse from Proba-2 as well that's pretty nifty.

Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti took an amazing picture of the Moon's shadow on the Earth, with a Russian capsule hanging off the ISS in the foreground:

And one more: NASA's Terra Earth-observing satellite took this dramatic shot of the Moon's inner (umbra) and outer (penumbra) shadow over clouds in the Arctic Ocean:

Those lines are called cloud streets and are pretty cool all by themselves.

And finally, if you want to understand eclipses, why, I did a Crash Course episode on them:

If you missed this eclipse, don't sweat it: There are a lot more coming, including the August 2017 that will sweep across the U.S.! I'll have more information about that closer to the event, of course.

Update, March 20, 2015, at 16:30 UTC: I originally wrote that this eclipse happened "yesterday," because it was during the middle of the night for those of us in the U.S. A few people got confused by that, so I changed it to simply the date of the eclipse: March 20, 2015. Sorry about that!

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