The eye of the universe: Incredible eclipse image reveals the sun in unprecedented detail
- The composite picture, made up of two images, shows the eclipse that took place on March 9
- White area higlights the solar corona – the aura of plasma extends millions of miles into space
- Blue area of the image shows the total eclipse from the ground and the red section is sun viewed from space
- The red section was acquired by the sun-orbiting Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) spacecraft
The incredible images that emerged from the March 9th total solar eclipse were impressive enough.
But now Nasa has gone one better by creating a composite view of the eclipse that makes the sun look like the Eye of Sauron in Lord of the Rings.
The composite image shows the solar corona, which is an aura of plasma that surrounds the sun and extends millions of miles into space, as seen during the solar eclipse from both Earth and space.
The blue part of the image shows the total eclipse from the ground, with the central pupil created by the bright sun covered by a comparatively dark moon.
Surrounding the blocked solar disk is the tenuous corona of sun imaged in white light.
The red section was viewed from space, acquired by the sun-orbiting Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) spacecraft.
The corona is easily visible from the ground only during an eclipse.
Normally, this corona is hard to track far from the sun, but the featured montage matches it to false-colored observations of the sun using space probes.
Images like this allow the study of the constantly changing magnetic activity both near and far from the sun – the same activity that ultimately drives Earth’s auroras.
Last month, thousands of tourists and astronomy enthusiasts flocked to Indonesia to catch the country’s first solar eclipse in nearly 33 years.
The eclipse, which took place on March 9, was also visible in parts of Australia and south-east Asia.
However, only some parts of the country got to see the sun totally eclipsed by the moon, which happened almost immediately after the sun rose.
Because the moon’s shadow crossed the international date
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