NASA Spacecraft Captures Double Eclipse In New Video

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, more commonly called the SDO, caught a rare double eclipse up close as both the Earth and the moon crossed in front of the sun. It's a rare event, and one that we get to see up-close thanks to a video the space agency has made public. All we see are two massive dark shadows, but there's an easy way to tell them apart — the Earth's edges look fuzzy when it passes in front of the sun, while the moon's edges are super sharp and clear.

According to NASA, the Earth blocks the observatory's view of the sun for a little while everyday, which is said to be due to SDO's geosynchronous orbit. This past September 1, this process happened as usual, but coincided with the moon's own movement in front of the sun. Since the Earth's passage started a short while earlier, though, the spacecraft was able to see the tail end of the moon's movement.

In the video above, the Earth is fuzzy around the edges due to the way our planet's atmosphere absorbs sunlight. The moon doesn't share that, though, (there's no atmosphere, that is) and so it is easy to spot via its sharp, clear edges.

According to NASA, there was a simultaneous eclipse that was visible from a particular place on Earth, as well — southern Africa. This eclipse is dubbed the "ring of fire" eclipse and it bears similarities to the total solar eclipse. The big difference is that the moon, due to its location, seems smaller than the sun, resulting in the ring of light around it as it passes by.

SOURCE: NASA