Spring kicked off with a pretty phenomenal solar eclipse this year. And while it was only seen in a small part of the globe, there are some pretty phenomenal pictures to show those of us who weren’t in the right place at the right time what we missed.
Total solar eclipses happen when the Moon moves between Sun and Earth, blocking the Sun’s light and casting a shadow on our planet. It’s a perfect alignment of celestial bodies astronomers call syzygy. And seeing one is pretty rare. Not only do total eclipses only happen during a new Moon, you have to be in the right place to see the Moon completely block the Sun.
In the case of the eclipse on March 20, the total eclipse was only seen by observers on Denmark’s Faroe Islands and Norway’s Svalbard Islands. Norway’s NRK News managed to capture a stunning video of the Sun disappearing behind clouds before disappearing behind the disk of the Moon as the eclipse reached totality. But even that wasn’t the best view.
A handful of satellites also caught the eclipse. The European Space Agency’s PROBA2, the second PRoject for OnBoard Autonomy satellite, caught the eclipse. Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, currently on the International Space Station, took some incredible pictures of the eclipse. The Eumetsat satellite that monitors weather and climate data from space, caught the shadow of the Moon on the Earth.
Friday’s eclipse is the last full eclipse we’ll see on the March equinox for another 19 years. And it was also the only total Solar eclipse of the year. The next will be next year on March 9, 2016, and totality will only be visible to observers in Sumatra, Borneo, and Sulawesi.