NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) has beamed back to Earth yet another stunning image of a total solar eclipse it witnessed on February 11.
The eclipse was witnessed by the SDO when Earth crossed its view of the Sun. Also known as a transit, Earth’s passage was brief, lasting from 2:10 a.m. to 2:41 a.m. EST and covering the entire face of the Sun.
According to NASA this marks the beginning of eclipse season for its solar observatory as well as the mission’s eighth launch anniversary. SDO’s eclipse season is a three-week period that comes twice a year near the equinoxes during which Earth blocks SDO’s view of the Sun for a short while each day.
While the eclipses are regular, they 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.
SDO’s orbit is designed to maximize the amount of data the spacecraft can send back to Earth, but twice a year Earth gets in the way of the spacecraft’s view. The spring eclipse season began on Feb. 10 with a partial eclipse and concludes March 5, 2018.