NASA recently captured an unusual phenomenon from space. Their Solar Dynamics Observatory, which keeps a watchful eye on the sun throughout the day, witnessed a double eclipse in the early morning of Sept. 1. This rare marvel occurs when the Earth and moon cross in front of the sun.
According to NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, “You can tell Earth and the moon’s shadows apart by their edges: Earth’s is fuzzy, while the moon’s is sharp and distinct. This is because Earth’s atmosphere absorbs some of the sun’s light, creating an ill-defined edge. On the other hand, the moon has no atmosphere, producing a crisp horizon.”
This stunning double eclipse was able to be viewed by those in southern Africa and is known as “a ring of fire.” According to NASA’s blog, it occurs when the moon is farther away from the Earth than usual. “The increased distance causes the moon’s apparent size to be smaller, so it doesn’t block the entire face of the sun. This leaves a bright, narrow ring of the solar surface visible, looking much like a ring of fire.” This annular eclipse can only be seen from Earth about once every two years.
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