Proba-2's Partial Solar Eclipse

n 8-9 March 2016, a solar eclipse took place over the Pacific Ocean.

This eclipse was total - meaning that the entire solar disk was covered by the Moon - over Indonesia and the central Pacific, starting at sunrise over Sumatra and ending at sunset north of the Hawaiian Islands. Additionally, large parts of South-East Asia, Alaska and Australia witnessed a partial solar eclipse. The path of totality had a maximum width of 155 km and the maximum duration was 4 minutes and 9 seconds at the point of greatest eclipse, over the waters of the Pacific Ocean.

Nothing could be seen over Europe, but ESA's Proba-2 minisatellite saw a partial solar eclipse from its 800-km-altitude polar orbit. Proba-2 used its SWAP imager to capture the Moon passing in front of the Sun. SWAP views the solar disc at extreme ultraviolet wavelengths to capture the turbulent surface of the Sun and its swirling corona.

Due to its Sun-synchronous orbit, Proba-2 follows the terminator, the dividing line between day and night, and was therefore able to observe a partial solar eclipse. Proba-2's 90 minute orbit meant it passed through the Moon's shadow to observe a partial solar eclipse two times on March 9: between 00:40 UTC and 00:54 UTC and again between 02:58 UTC and 03:13 UTC. Additionally, the Moon appeared two times in its field of view without obscuring the solar disk.

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