Can A Double Eclipse Happen? NASA’s SDO Discovery

Let’s shoot you back to Sept. 1st, 2016. What were you doing that day? Where were you at? Did you know that Space was giving the world a double eclipse treat? NASA did, once their Solar Dynamic Observatory (SDO) picked up the rather unusual spectacle.

Early morning gave a glimpse of the earth and the moon crossing in front of the sun. The SDO is always focused on the burning ball of heat, but during eclipse seasons it tends to get blocked by our planet and its celestial sister. But what do each look like to us?

If you haven’t guessed already, a solar eclipse is going to rain shadow upon the united states on August 21, 2017. Solar eclipses are rather crisp and clean in terms of definition with the moon blocking out the sun. The moon itself is over 200,000+ miles away from earth. Although the sun is significantly further (more than 350+ times) the distance apart makes the two spherical influences to our world appear the same shape and size. Depth of field action if you will.

Now taking a glance at a lunar eclipse to where the earth’s shadow blocks the suns rays of light, it’s actually quite fuzzy and not as distinct. What’s the difference? You see, the earth’s atmosphere actually absorbs some of the suns light, thus generating an “ill defined edge” (NASA, 2016). The moon however has no atmosphere which in turn provides a much crisper image and with it still being slightly smaller than the sun, we see a nice golden ring of light surrounding the tide bringing orb.

Double eclipse

“This particular geometry of Earth, the moon and the sun had effects on viewing down on the ground as well: It resulted in a simultaneous eclipse visible from southern Africa” (NASA, 2016). Talk about a photo bomb.


Written by: Alex