Nov 12

Proba-2 soaks up three solar eclipses

Source: ESA

The total solar eclipse of 13/14 November 2012.
Image credits: Anik De Groof.

ESA’s Sun-watching Proba-2 satellite experienced three partial solar eclipses last night while lucky observers watching from northern Australia were treated to a total solar eclipse.

During a total solar eclipse, the Moon moves in front of the Sun as seen from Earth, their alignment and separation such that the much closer Moon appears large enough to block out the light from the much more distant Sun.

Since Proba-2 orbits Earth about 14.5 times per day, it can dip in and out of the Moon’s shadow around the time of a solar eclipse. The constant change in viewing angle of Proba-2 meant that the satellite passed through the shadow three times during the eclipse yesterday, as shown in the video presented here.

As the Sun was never completely covered up from Proba-2’s vantage point, each eclipse was only partial.  (read more)

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