A different view of the eclipse

Imagine you were an astronaut on the International Space Station and an eclipse is happening. By not being on the surface of the Earth, there’s nothing to see, right?

Not really. The sight you’ll get is the shadow of the Moon on the surface of the Earth.

It’s similar to being on a plane and watching the patches of shadows caused by clouds falling on the countryside below.

Only in this case, the shadow is caused by the Moon. We’ve grown used to seeing events of epic size and  proportion in Hollywood blockbusters, but to give a little perspective on the scale of this: the Moon’s diameter is 3,474km, about a quarter of that of the Earth. Its surface area is that of North America and Russia combined.

That is some gigantic object blocking the Sun and creating the shadow.

If the sight of an eclipse is rare, this view of it seen from space has got to be rarer.

Photo: NASA

Photo: NASA

This eclipse was the one that took place on March 29, 2006 across Africa, the Mediterranean and parts of Asia Minor.


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