Syfy Insider Exclusive

Create a free profile to get unlimited access to exclusive videos, sweepstakes, and more!

Sign Up For Free to View
SYFY WIRE International Space Station

Space Station Crew Captures Stunning View of the Eclipse from Space

The crew aboard the ISS captures a unique view of the Moon's shadow from orbit.

By Cassidy Ward

The documentary The Wonderful: Stories from the Space Station pretty much says what it is right on the tin. It tells the stories of the select few who have spent part of their lives orbiting the world. The International Space Station (ISS) is built and maintained by five space agencies and 15 nations, it is the largest spacecraft ever built, and it’s been the home to astronauts and cosmonauts in low-Earth orbit for over two decades.

It’s an orbital scientific laboratory, an astronomical observatory, and a testing ground for humanity’s future as a spacefaring civilization. It also has some of the best views in the solar system. Recently, the crew of Expedition 71 got a view of the 2024 total solar eclipse unlike any other.

International Space Station Crew Photographs Moon's Shadow During Solar Eclipse

The International Space Station soars overhead at an altitude of about 250 miles. On any given day, the crew aboard the ISS have got the best view of any humans alive, but not on eclipse day. A few times a year (between two and five times, depending on how the orbits shake out), the motions of the Earth, Sun, and Moon bring them into nearly perfect alignment.

If you live in, or can travel to, someplace along the path of the Moon’s shadow, you can watch as it slowly drifts in front of and blocks out the Sun. For a few brief moments, if the conditions are right, you can look directly at the Sun, glimpsing its rarely seen coronal atmosphere. The temperature drops, the birds stop singing, and everything goes dark.

For More on the International Space Station:
A Florida Home May Have Been Hit by Debris from Space
With Help from a Robot, a Surgeon on Earth Performs Simulated Surgery on the ISS
The Life and Death (in 2031) of the International Space Station

A view of the solar eclipse's moon shadow on Earth from ISS

It is perhaps the only time that people on the ground have a better view of the cosmos than the folks in orbit. As a consolation prize, the ‘nauts aboard the station are treated to a view of the eclipse that can only be seen from on high.

On Monday, April 8, as the Moon slipped between the Earth and the Sun, the ISS was racing overhead at more than 17,000 miles per hour. The crew of Expedition 71, made up of seven crew members from NASA and Roscosmos, spent the day doing maintenance, exercising, performing experiments, and moving cargo, like any other day.

Matthew Dominick and Jeanette Epps, both NASA Flight Engineers, were in the cupola when the station passed over southeastern Canada. As you can see in the image above, from their high vantage point in the crow’s nest of the world, they could see the shadow of the Moon passing like an inky black spot over New York State and Newfoundland.

The next time the crew of the ISS will have a chance to see the Moon’s shadow during a total solar eclipse will be August 12, 2026, when it passes over Greenland, Spain, Russia, and part of Portugal.

Get your own view from the Space Station in The Wonderful: Stories from the Space Station, available from Universal Pictures.