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NASA Satellites See Partial Solar Eclipse over Europe and Asia | by NASA Goddard Photo and Video
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NASA Satellites See Partial Solar Eclipse over Europe and Asia

NASA image acquired January 4, 2010 09:20 UTC


Partial solar eclipse over Europe and Asia. Satellites: Terra and Aqua


Near sunrise on January 4, 2011, the first partial solar eclipse of the year cast a golden glow across the surface of the Earth. The penumbral shadow – the area where sunlight was partially blocked as the Moon occulted the Sun – fell first in Algeria, at 6:40:11 UTC. It then moved steadily eastward across the Middle East and Central Asia. The greatest eclipse occurred at 8:51 UTC, about one-half hour before this image was captured, in northern Sweden, where about 85.8 percent of the Sun was covered by the Moon.


Stockholm, Sweden is found in the sepia-shadowed northeast corner of this image, near the thickest area of lime-green borderlines. The northwest corner falls just east of the Ural Mountains at the western edge of Siberia. The border of Pakistan and India just north of Sundra, India lies in the southeast corner, and the southwest corner is found in Libya. Much of the region is shrouded in snow and a layer of clouds can also be seen. Both reflect light, bringing bright golden streaks to the sepia-toned penumbral shadows.


As the Moon’s shadow fell upon the Earth, both the Aqua and Terra satellites, each carrying a Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), passed over the region in close enough proximity to capture contiguous views of the spectacular event. This natural color image, a mosaic of images from both satellites, gives a synoptic view of the morning’s partial eclipse and was captured January 4 at 9:20 UTC. The left section of the image was captured from the MODIS aboard Terra as the satellite traveled from northeast to southwest, while the right section was captured by Aqua as it orbited from southeast to northwest. The blank triangle in the center of the image is an area outside of either orbit, where no data was collected.


Four partial solar eclipses and two total lunar eclipses will occur in 2011. This 4:2 combination of solar and lunar eclipses is rather rare. Only six cases will occur in the 21st Century, with the next occurring in 2029.


To view the entire image go to:


Credit: NASA/GSFC/Jeff Schmaltz/MODIS Land Rapid Response Team


NASA Goddard Space Flight Center enables NASA’s mission through four scientific endeavors: Earth Science, Heliophysics, Solar System Exploration, and Astrophysics. Goddard plays a leading role in NASA’s accomplishments by contributing compelling scientific knowledge to advance the Agency’s mission.


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Taken on January 4, 2011