Image: Eclipse season begins for NASA's SDO

March 1, 2016
Credit: NASA/SDO

The 2016 spring eclipse season of NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory began Feb. 19, 2016. These seasons – a time when Earth blocks SDO's view of the sun for a period of time each day – last around three weeks and happen twice a year near the equinoxes. The eclipses are fairly short near the beginning and end of the season but ramp up to 72 minutes in the middle. Most spacecraft observing the sun from an orbit around Earth have to contend with such eclipses, but SDO's orbit is designed to minimize them as much as possible, as they block observations of the sun. The spring season will end on March 12, 2016.

This animation was made with images taken in extreme ultraviolet wavelengths of 304 angstroms on Feb. 22, 2016. This type of light is typically invisible to our eyes, but is colorized here in red. The boundaries of Earth blocking the sun are not perfectly sharp, since the 's light is able to shine through Earth's atmosphere in some places.

Explore further: SDO enters its semiannual eclipse season

Related Stories

SDO enters its semiannual eclipse season

September 7, 2012

(Phys.org)—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.

SDO observes Earth, lunar transits in same day

March 11, 2013

On March 2, 2013, NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) entered its semiannual eclipse season, a period of three weeks when Earth blocks its view of the sun for a period of time each day. On March 11, however, SDO was treated ...

Video: NASA's SDO catches a double photobomb

September 15, 2015

On Sept. 13, 2015, as NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, kept up its constant watch on the sun, its view was photobombed not once, but twice. Just as the moon came into SDO's field of view on a path to cross the sun, ...

Video: SDO sees tangled connections

January 22, 2016

These images from NASA's Solar Dynamic Observatory, or SDO, show magnetically active regions on the sun on Jan. 8-9, 2016. When such regions are close-set, magnetic field lines create a tangle of arches snaking through the ...

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 ...

Video: SDO sees active region outbursts

November 10, 2015

This close-up video by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory shows an active region near the right-hand edge of the sun's disk, which erupted with at least a dozen minor events over a 30-hour period from Nov. 3-5, 2015.  

Recommended for you

Dark matter may be smoother than expected

December 7, 2016

Analysis of a giant new galaxy survey, made with ESO's VLT Survey Telescope in Chile, suggests that dark matter may be less dense and more smoothly distributed throughout space than previously thought. An international team ...

Cassini transmits first images from new orbit

December 7, 2016

NASA's Cassini spacecraft has sent to Earth its first views of Saturn's atmosphere since beginning the latest phase of its mission. The new images show scenes from high above Saturn's northern hemisphere, including the planet's ...

Saturn's bulging core implies moons younger than thought

December 7, 2016

Freshly harvested data from NASA's Cassini mission reveals that Saturn's bulging core and twisting gravitational forces offer clues to the ages of the planet's moons. Astronomers now believe that the ringed planet's moons ...

0 comments

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.