Image: NASA satellite spots moon's shadow over Patagonia

February 28, 2017 by Lina Tran, NASA
NASA’s Terra satellite captured this image of the edges of the moon’s shadow over Patagonia at around 13:20 Universal Time (10:20 a.m. local time) on Feb. 26, 2017. Under the moon’s shadow, our planet’s surface and clouds appear yellowish-brown. Credit: NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team

On Feb. 26, 2017, an annular eclipse of the sun was visible along a narrow path that stretched from the southern tip of South America, across the Atlantic Ocean and into southern Africa. Those lucky enough to find themselves in the eclipse's path saw a fiery ring in the sky. Meanwhile, NASA's Terra satellite saw the eclipse from space.

During an , the moon passes between the sun and Earth, blocking sunlight and casting a shadow on Earth. But the moon is too far from Earth to completely obscure the sun, so the sun peeks out around the moon. Looking down on Earth, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, or MODIS, aboard NASA's Terra satellite spotted the moon's shadow over Patagonia.

Between two to four solar eclipses occur each year. Later this year, on Aug. 21, 2017, a – in which the moon completely obscures the sun – will cross the United States, from Oregon to South Carolina.

Observe the progression of the annular eclipse in this composite image taken from the shore of a small river near Chubut, Argentina. During an annular eclipse, the moon is too far from Earth to completely obscure the sun, so the sun peeks out around the moon in a visible ring. This ring is apparent at the very middle of the eclipse sequence. Credit: Petr Horálek, used with permission

Explore further: SDO witnesses a double eclipse (w/ video)

Related Stories

SDO witnesses a double eclipse (w/ video)

September 2, 2016

Early in the morning of Sept. 1, 2016, NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, caught both Earth and the moon crossing in front of the sun. SDO keeps a constant eye on the sun, but during SDO's semiannual eclipse seasons, ...

The other end of an eclipse

May 23, 2012

As the annular eclipse on May 20 sent skywatchers around the globe gazing upwards to see the Sun get darkened by the Moon’s silhouette, NASA’s Terra satellite caught the other side of the event: the Moon’s ...

NASA moon data provides more accurate 2017 eclipse path

January 5, 2017

On Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, millions in the U.S. will have their eyes to the sky as they witness a total solar eclipse. The moon's shadow will race across the United States, from Oregon to South Carolina. The path of this shadow, ...

See a flirtatious lunar eclipse this Friday night

February 6, 2017

Not many people get excited about a penumbral eclipse, but when it's a deep one and the only lunar eclipse visible in North America this year, it's worth a closer look. What's more, this Friday's eclipse happens during convenient, ...

Recommended for you

What do Uranus's cloud tops have in common with rotten eggs?

April 23, 2018

Hydrogen sulfide, the gas that gives rotten eggs their distinctive odor, permeates the upper atmosphere of the planet Uranus - as has been long debated, but never definitively proven. Based on sensitive spectroscopic observations ...

Studying dwarf galaxies to get the big picture

April 23, 2018

EPFL scientists have completed the fastidious task of analyzing 27 dwarf galaxies in detail, identifying the conditions under which they were formed and how they've since evolved. These small-scale galaxies are perfect for ...

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.