SDO enters its semiannual eclipse season

September 7, 2012 by Karen C. Fox
Still from video showing SDO's view of the sun being partially blocked by Earth. Credit: NASA/SDO

(—Twice a year, for three weeks near the equinox, NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) moves into its eclipse season—a time when Earth blocks its view of the sun for a period of time each day.

Any spacecraft observing the sun from an orbit around Earth has to contend with such eclipses, but SDO's orbit is designed to minimize them as much as possible.

Video: NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) has moved into its second season of 2012. This movie from SDO shows Earth moving across the sun from 2:25 to 3:25 a.m. EDT on Sept. 6, 2012. Credit: NASA/SDO/S. Hill

The boundaries of the shadow of Earth on the sun are not perfectly sharp since can see some light from the sun coming through Earth's atmosphere.

Explore further: SDO's crazy-looking Sun due to syzygy

Related Stories

SDO's crazy-looking Sun due to syzygy

April 4, 2011

It looks like something is eating the Sun in recent pictures from the Solar Dynamics Observatory — and in recent SDO videos, the Sun suddenly disappears! What is going on? Could it be aliens, Planet X, or the Great Galactic ...

Solar Dynamics Observatory goes for a spin

April 9, 2012

( -- On April 4, 2012, NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) did a 360. It rolled completely around its axis – something it does twice a year. In this movie, the dizzying view looks as if the sun went for ...

NASA Successfully Launches a New Eye on the Sun

February 11, 2010

( -- NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, lifted off Thursday from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Launch Complex 41 on a first-of-a-kind mission to reveal the sun's inner workings in unprecedented detail. ...

Solar Dynamics Observatory Set to Launch Feb. 9

February 2, 2010

( -- The Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, is set to launch from Florida no earlier than 10:30 a.m. EST on Feb. 9, on an unprecedented mission to study the sun and its dynamic behavior. Onboard telescopes will ...

Solar Dynamics Observatory to observe Venus transit

June 1, 2012

On June 5, 2012 at 6:03 PM EDT, the planet Venus will do something it has done only seven times since the invention of the telescope: cross in front of the sun. This transit is among the rarest of planetary alignments and ...

Recommended for you

STEREO—10 years of revolutionary solar views

October 26, 2016

Launched 10 years ago, on Oct. 25, 2006, the twin spacecraft of NASA's STEREO mission – short for Solar and Terrestrial Relations Observatory – have given us unprecedented views of the sun, including the first-ever simultaneous ...

Image: Changing colors in Saturn's pole

October 26, 2016

These two natural color images from NASA's Cassini spacecraft show the changing appearance of Saturn's north polar region between 2012 and 2016.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.