Lunar Transit Captured by SDO – March 4, 2011
NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) satellite captured the dark moon creating a partial eclipse of the Sun last March 2-4, 2011.
More still images here.
Watch HD Video.
These images, while unusual and cool to see, also have practical value to the SDO science team. Karel Schrijver of Lockheed-Martin’s Solar and Astrophysics Lab explains: “The very sharp edge of the lunar limb allows us to measure the in-orbit characteristics of the telescope e.g., light diffraction on optics and filter support grids. Once these are characterized, we can use that information to correct our data for instrumental effects and sharpen up the images to even more detail.”
On October 7, 2010, SDO observed its first lunar transit when the new Moon passed directly between the spacecraft (in its geosynchronous orbit) and the Sun.