SDO getting an eclipse

I noticed this in our sidebar SDO solar image and grabbed it.

It has happened before, last year.

From this NASA story

Image Credit: SDO/NASA

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded its first lunar transit when the moon passed directly between the spacecraft and the sun.

In this newly released image, the dark edge of the moon forms a partial eclipse of the sun. This sharp edge can be used to help calculate the effects of light diffraction on the telescope’s optics, allowing operators to correct for this effect.

Onboard the SDO is the Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager instrument. This measures magnetic fields, as well as visible ripples on the surface of the sun caused by the sun’s convection zone. This data helps researchers understand our star’s influence on Earth and near-Earth space.


Watch the progress on our WUWT solar page here

If somebody wants to make a movie I’ll post it later.

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Scott Covert
March 4, 2011 6:35 am

Well THAT’S where all the sun spots went!

March 4, 2011 8:06 am

Looks more like a Black Hole eating us into non-existance. I just knew we didn’t have to worry about Manmade Global Anything, good ol’ Mother Nature would take care of us.

March 4, 2011 8:17 am

And thus was the Cult of the Pacman begun.

March 4, 2011 8:37 am

Pack man fever or astroids for sure

Grant from Calgary
March 4, 2011 8:37 am

Ahh! The 2012 planet X is going to destroy the sun!!! Run away!

Tom in Florida
March 4, 2011 8:39 am

FYI, this is what you vision looks like if you ever have a detached retina. If so, immediate repair is required.

Dave Springer
March 4, 2011 8:48 am

Oh Noes! The sun is melting!!!

March 4, 2011 9:00 am

“I noticed this in our sidebar SDO solar image and grabbed it.”
Nice grab, Anthony

ferd berple
March 4, 2011 9:18 am

[Snip . . off topic indeed . . if you want people to go to Judith’s site at you need to put it up in Tips & Notes OK?]

March 4, 2011 9:36 am

Speaking of sidebar graphics, I note that the ENSO Meter there has been stuck at roughly -1.5 for some time now. How often is that updated? I went to the ENSO page, but don’t see the meter there. Any help?

CRS, Dr.P.H.
March 4, 2011 10:28 am

Thank you, Anthony! You posted a brief article, but it’s very interesting! It confirms why WUWT won “Best Science Blog.” I never know what I’m going to find when I visit, and it is always a fascinating & challenging place!

George E. Smith
March 4, 2011 11:09 am

Well I can see the Black Body Radiation in the upper left; but what is that funny lemon thing ?
Timing is everything Anthony; in this case great timing.

R. Craigen
March 4, 2011 12:26 pm

The mother of all sun spots!

Steve R
March 4, 2011 12:50 pm

For some reason I was thinking that satellite was resting at one of the LaGrangian points between the earth and sun, much further away than the moon.

March 4, 2011 1:43 pm

Steve R,
At libration points L1 or L3 you could see an moon eclipse, but I have no idea where the Solar Dynamics Observatory is. About 25 years ago in northern California, I was a card carrying member of the L3 Club. We had meetings and sat around talking about how cool it would be to build a space colony parked in the L3 LaGrangian libration point!

March 4, 2011 1:59 pm

Me and you both Steve R. Then I remembered that it’s the Chandra X-Ray Observatory that’s at a LaGrange point.

March 4, 2011 2:06 pm

Nope, I was wrong again. It’s SOHO, not Chandra in LaGrangian orbit. Hey, it’s Friday.

March 4, 2011 2:38 pm

Nice!! I’m sure these eclipse’s can be easily predicted!!
I was doing simulations of the SOHO Satellite and found There’s another comet due to pass between the Satellite and the sun coming up, I can upload a video of the simulation if anyone is interested.

Ian H
March 4, 2011 2:58 pm

The satellite should also see eclipses from the earth passing in front of the sun. The presence of an atmosphere should make for some interesting effects in that case.

Steven Kopits
March 4, 2011 4:32 pm

Set it as my wallpaper.

March 4, 2011 4:57 pm

Reminds me of the song by, The Police:
“There’s a little black spot on the sun today
It’s the same old thing as yesterday…………….

March 4, 2011 5:36 pm

Mark Adams says:
March 4, 2011 at 1:43 pm
but I have no idea where the Solar Dynamics Observatory is.
It is sitting over New Mexico about 26,000 miles out.

March 4, 2011 6:40 pm

Thanks the info Mr.
From: Alieph

March 4, 2011 9:28 pm

Presumably there’s some detectable gravitational lensing going on?
Will inaccuracies in previous estimations of measurement of volume, mass and distance etc., be shown to be in error?

Marc DeRosa
March 4, 2011 11:04 pm

Leif Svalgaard says:
March 4, 2011 at 5:36 pm
Mark Adams says:
March 4, 2011 at 1:43 pm
but I have no idea where the Solar Dynamics Observatory is.
It is sitting over New Mexico about 26,000 miles out.

Minor correction: While it is true that the orbit of SDO is at about the longitude of New Mexico, its orbit is more or less centered in latitude over the equator. It is rarely, if ever, located directly above the state of New Mexico (though it comes close). The orbital elements of SDO, plus a plot of its orbit and its current location, can be seen here.
Exercise for the reader: Why must a solar observatory in geostationary orbit like SDO (that observes the sun all of the time) have an orbit centered over the equator?

Marc DeRosa
March 4, 2011 11:44 pm

Addendum to my exercise: I now realize that my question is somewhat badly worded, since all geostationary orbits are centered in latitude about the equator, as it turns out. But some clairvoyant person out there may be able to intuit what I was going for…

March 5, 2011 7:36 am

I blame Al Gore … wherever he wanders, the sun and it’s warmth seems to disappear, not unlike the effect he’s had on our hard earned money, while his grows exponentially to the millions pile.

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