NASA captures lunar transit

Early on Jan. 30, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory captured images of an unusually long lunar transit in which the moon appears to move across the sun.

NASA’s  SDO  5-year mission dedicated to observing the sun began on February 11, 2011.

The transit  started at roughly 8:30 a.m. ET and lasted for about 2.5 hours until 11:00 a.m. It was the longest transit captured by the SDO thus far. Lunar transits usually last only about half an hour.

The SDO was able to capture the transit via its Extreme Ultraviolet Light Experiment. EVE is designed to measure the extreme ultraviolet photons the sun puts out, which are crucial for heating the earth.

By converting the ultraviolet measurements to wavelengths at which humans can see, NASA was able to share images and video of the partial solar eclipse online.

Check out NASA’s video, an observation of the sun lasting approximately two days and condensed into 10 seconds:

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