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An Unparalleled View: The Annular Solar Eclipse From the International Space Station

The Moon passes in front of the sun during the annular solar eclipse in this photograph taken by Expedition 70 Flight Engineer Jasmin Moghbeli aboard the International Space Station. Credit: NASA

From the vantage point of the International Space StationThe International Space Station (ISS) is a large spacecraft in orbit around the Earth that serves as a research laboratory and spaceport for international collaboration in space exploration. It was launched in 1998 and has been continuously occupied by rotating crews of astronauts and cosmonauts from around the world since 2000. The ISS is a joint project of five space agencies: NASA (USA), Roscosmos (Russia), JAXA (Japan), ESA (Europe), and CSA (Canada). It orbits the Earth at an altitude of approximately 400 kilometers (250 miles), and provides a unique platform for scientific research, technological development, and human space exploration.” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]”>International Space Station (ISS), NASAEstablished in 1958, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is an independent agency of the United States Federal Government that succeeded the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). It is responsible for the civilian space program, as well as aeronautics and aerospace research. Its vision is "To discover and expand knowledge for the benefit of humanity." Its core values are "safety, integrity, teamwork, excellence, and inclusion." NASA conducts research, develops technology and launches missions to explore and study Earth, the solar system, and the universe beyond. It also works to advance the state of knowledge in a wide range of scientific fields, including Earth and space science, planetary science, astrophysics, and heliophysics, and it collaborates with private companies and international partners to achieve its goals.” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]”>NASA astronaut and Expedition 70 Flight Engineer Jasmin Moghbeli documented an important astronomical event: the annular solar eclipse. This photograph, taken on October 14, shows the Moon passing in front of the Sun.

Annular Eclipses: The Science

Annular solar eclipses are a distinct category of solar eclipses. In such an event, due to the relative distances between Earth, the Moon, and the Sun, the Moon does not completely obscure the Sun. Instead, it leaves a luminous ring, often referred to as the “annulus” – derived from the Latin word for ‘ring’. This phenomenon provides scientists with a unique observational opportunity to study the Sun’s outer atmosphere or corona.

Moon’s Shadow Darkens a Portion of the Earth’s Surface

The Moon passes in front of the sun casting its shadow, or umbra, and darkening a portion of the Earth’s surface during the annular solar eclipse. The International Space Station was soaring 260 miles above the U.S.-Canadian border as this picture was taken pointing southward toward Texas. Credit: NASA

NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli

NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli arrived at the International Space Station on August 27, aboard the SpaceXCommonly known as SpaceX, Space Exploration Technologies Corp. is a private American aerospace manufacturer and space transport services company that was founded by Elon Musk in 2002. Headquartered in Hawthorne, California, the company designs, manufactures, and launches advanced rockets and spacecraft. SpaceX's ultimate goal is to reduce space transportation costs and enable the colonization of Mars.” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]”>SpaceX Dragon Endurance. She was part of the Crew-7 mission which also included ESA (European Space AgencyThe European Space Agency (ESA) is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration and study of space. ESA was established in 1975 and has 22 member states, with its headquarters located in Paris, France. ESA is responsible for the development and coordination of Europe's space activities, including the design, construction, and launch of spacecraft and satellites for scientific research and Earth observation. Some of ESA's flagship missions have included the Rosetta mission to study a comet, the Gaia mission to create a 3D map of the Milky Way, and the ExoMars mission to search for evidence of past or present life on Mars.” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]”>European Space Agency) astronaut Andreas Mogensen, JAXAFormed in 2003, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) was born through the merger of three institutions, namely the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS), the National Aerospace Laboratory of Japan (NAL) and the National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA). JAXA performs various activities related to aerospace, from basic research in the aerospace field to development and utilization and is responsible for research, technology development, and launch of satellites into orbit, and is involved in advanced missions such as asteroid exploration and possible human exploration of the Moon.” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]”>JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Satoshi Furukawa, and RoscosmosRoscosmos, also known as the Roscosmos State Corporation for Space Activities, is the Russian government agency responsible for space activities, including the development and operation of spacecraft, launch vehicles, and space stations. It was formed in 2015 through the merger of the Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) and the United Rocket and Space Corporation. Roscosmos is responsible for Russia's space program and works closely with other international space agencies on joint projects, such as the International Space Station. The agency is also involved in a wide range of space-related activities, including scientific research, earth observation, telecommunications, and manned spaceflight.” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]”>Roscosmos cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov.

Astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli Prepares for Spacewalk Training

Astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli prepares for spacewalk training at Johnson Space Center’s Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory with assistance from astronaut Tracy C. Dyson. Credit: NASA/Josh Valcarcel

The Technicalities of Space Photography

Photographing celestial phenomena from the ISS involves a unique set of challenges. The ISS orbits the Earth at a significant speed, and this, combined with the dynamics of the celestial event itself, necessitates precise calculation and timing for accurate documentation.

Source: SciTechDaily