A Different Angle on A Solar Eclipse

NASA's Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (aka STEREO) has a pair of satellites in orbit that can take pictures of the Sun simultaneously from different angles, providing a 3D view of our nearest star.

As it turns out, there are times when the Moon passes between the Sun and one of the spacecraft, and from STEREO’s angle it's an unusal view.

From the Earth, the Sun is about 400 times farther away than the Moon, but it's also about 400 times bigger than the Moon so the Sun and Moon are about the same apparent size in the sky. When there's a solar eclipse the Moon slides in front of the Sun, just barely (some times not quite) covering it.

For STEREO the Moon appears much smaller than we see it, but the Sun is still at about the same distance so the Moon appears a lot smaller than the Sun.

Not long after STEREO's launch the Moon passed directly in front of the Sun as seen from one of the spacecraft, and STEREO caught it, and now you can see it too.


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