An observatory of NASA just saw a total solar eclipse … from space!

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory saw a total eclipse of the space on Feb. 11, 2018.

(Joy Ng/NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/SDO)

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory spacecraft captured stunning views of a total solar eclipse on Sunday (Feb. 11), causing the mission’s birthday even more special.

The cosmic event was captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory(SDO), which launched eight years ago to the day, on Feb. 11, 2010.

The eclipse was not visible from our vantage point here on Earth. In fact, we are faced with a bit of a solar eclipse dry period in the aftermath of the “Great American Total solar Eclipse” this past August. There is a partial solar eclipse coming Thursday (Nov. 15), but it will be visible only from Antarctica and South America. There will also be a partial solar eclipses in July and August, for the benefit of the viewers in the south of Australia and northern Europe, respectively. And that’s it for 2018.

But SDO will be seeing a lot more eclipses in the next few weeks, because the probe is now in the “eclipse season.”

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  • Solar Dynamics Observatory

  • Great American Total Solar Eclipse

“SDO’s eclipse season is a period of three weeks, which meets twice a year near the equinoxes, during which the Earth blocks SDO’s view of the sun for a short time, every day,” NASA officials wrote in a description of the new imagery, which was released Tuesday (Feb. 13). “The eclipses are fairly short near the beginning and the end of the season, but the ramp up to 72 minutes in the middle.”

Sunday’s solar eclipse lasted for 31 minutes, from 2:10 to 2:41 a.m. EDT (0710 to 0741 GMT), NASA officials said.

In January, SDO captured some superb views of a bare and pristine sun, free of the dark sunspots that usually pepper the area. Sunspots serve as launch pads for solar flares and coronal mass ejections, so the lack thereof is a reminder that the sun is approaching the peak in its 11-year activity cycle, SDO members of the team said.

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