Total(lit)y awesome! This beautiful image depicts a total solar eclipse that was seen on Monday, August 21, 2017 above Madras, Oregon. The eclipse revealed the Sun’s outer atmosphere, called the corona, which is otherwise too dim to see next to the bright Sun. Sweeping across a narrow portion of the contiguous United States, the total solar eclipse gave scientists a unique opportunity to study the Sun. Swipe to see other stages of the total solar eclipse!
The Bailey’s Beads effect is visible in image two, as the Moon makes its final move over the Sun. Bailey’s Beads occur when the rugged lunar geography allows beads of sunlight to shine through in some places but not others.
Image three depicts the Diamond Ring effect, which is created when rays of sunlight shine through edge-on lunar valleys creating the fleeting appearance of a single glistening diamond set in a bright ring around the Moon's silhouette.
Because Earth’s surface is mostly ocean, most eclipses are visible over land for only a short time, if at all. This year’s eclipse was different – its path stretched over land for nearly 90 minutes, giving scientists an unprecedented opportunity to make scientific mesurements from the ground.
Credit: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani
While many in the U.S. experienced a total solar eclipse on Aug. 21, 2017, our satellites were hard at work observing the Sun from orbit, affording missions like our Solar Dynamics Observatory views of the eclipse. This movie, created from images taken by SDO, shows the Sun first in visible light, and then in 171-angstrom extreme ultraviolet light. The apparent slight movement of the Sun is because SDO has a hard time keeping the Sun centered in its images during eclipses, with so much light being blocked by the Moon. The fine guidance systems on SDO's instruments need to see the whole Sun in order keep the images centered from one exposure to the next. Once the transit was over, the fine guidance systems started back up, once again providing steady images of the Sun.
Swipe to see a far out view of the eclipse -- From a million miles out in space! NASA’s Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC) captured 12 natural color images of the moon’s shadow crossing over North America on Aug. 21, 2017. EPIC is aboard NOAA’s Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR), where it photographs the full sunlit side of Earth every day, giving it a unique view of total solar eclipses. EPIC normally takes about 20 to 22 images of Earth per day, so this animation appears to speed up the progression of the eclipse.
Lastly, swipe and see this composite image showing the Sun's atmosphere, the corona (as seen by the SOHO satellite) and a ground-based image of the Aug. 21, 2017, solar eclipse at totality. During a total solar eclipse, ground-based telescopes can observe the lowest part of the solar corona in a way that can’t be done at any other time, as the dim corona is normally obscured by the bright light of the Sun.
EPIC Earth Image Credit: NASA EPIC Team
SDO Video Credit: NASA/SDO
SOHO Image Credits: Innermost image credit: NASA/SDO; Ground-based eclipse image credit: Jay Pasachoff, Ron Dantowitz, Christian Lockwood and the Williams College Eclipse Expedition/NSF/National Geographic; Outer image credit: ESA/NASA/SOHO