Satellite to Watch Solar Eclipse From Space on Sunday

Artist's view of Japan's Hinode satellite
An artist’s concept of the Hinode spacecraft in its low orbit around Earth during the sun’s uneclipsed activity.
CREDIT: JAXA

As people across the United States scramble for a good position to observe the solar eclipse this Sunday (May 20), a Japanese satellite will get great looks from orbit.

The Hinode spacecraft will cross the path of Sunday’s annular solar eclipse a total of four times — and it won’t have to worry about its view being blocked by any pesky clouds. No other sun-observing satellite will be able to watch the dramatic event.

“Given the low altitude of the orbit, if Earth is eclipsed, so is the spacecraft,” said Jonathan Cirtain of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. Cirtain is a co-investigator for the X-ray telescope onboard Hinode.

On Jan. 4, 2011, the joint Japanese-American Hinode satellite captured breathtaking images of an annular solar eclipse.
On Jan. 4, 2011, the moon passed in front of the sun in a partial solar eclipse – as seen from parts of Earth. Here, the joint Japanese-American Hinode satellite captured the same breathtaking event from space. The unique view created what’s called an annular solar eclipse.
CREDIT: Hinode/XRT

A “ring of fire” eclipse

On Sunday, the moon will pass in front of the sun from Earth’s perspective, blocking out about 94 percent of our star’s light.

via space.com

http://www.space.com/15745-annular-solar-eclipse-hinode-satellite.html

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