2009/02/23

Lunar Eclipse As Seen From The Moon

Total lunar eclipses are not uncommon, but do not happen in a even pattern. There can be two or three over a period of 18 months, and then none for two or three years. A penumbral lunar eclipse is a phenomenon in which the Sun, Earth and Moon line up in tandem, hence the moon is in the Earth's penumbra, or, when you look from the Moon, the Sun is partially covered by the Earth (partial eclipse.) For a discussion of lunar eclipses with diagram, see my post "Lights Out".

Now we get to see what it looks like from the moon! The Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and broadcaster NHK released unique footage of the the Earth eclipsing the Sun as seen from the Moon on Wednesday. This was taken using the SELENE lunar orbiter's high definition camera. (JAXA/NHK)

For more about the SELENE mission, see the posts A Moon Maiden Takes Flight - Princess Kaguya , Top Of The Moon, and The Earth Also Rises.

Below is the world's first footage of an eclipse as seen from the Moon. Of course, from the earth we see this as a lunar eclipse, but to a viewer on the moon, it is a solar eclipse. This is a partial eclipse, so the sun is mostly eclipsed by the Earth, but one part shines like a diamond on a ring. Beautiful.



The Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and broadcaster NHK released unique footage of the the Earth eclipsing the Sun as seen from the Moon on Wednesday. This was taken using the SELENE lunar orbiter's high definition camera. (JAXA/NHK)

6 comments:

ladybug said...

Wow! That is really amazing!...it's always interesting to get another perspective on "heavenly bodies"!

Don Snabulus said...

Blogger ate all my fine words, so I will just thank you for the great footage.

Robin said...

oops, in the mist of my own sufferings, i missed this wonderful sight.

glad you share this with us, thanks.

The Moody Minstrel said...

Fantastic!

You mean during the height of the space race, when both the U.S. and U.S.S.R. were busily lobbing all kinds of things at the Moon before (and after) men finally landed there, no one ever got a shot like that before?

Olivia said...

Ha! Wow...beautiful...never occurred to me that the moon was witness to eclipses too.

Pandabonium said...

Ladybug - indeed.

Don - blogger seems to have a steady diet of eating your words. But you're picture is worth a thousand.

Robin - thanks to SELENE none of us missed it.

Moody - well, all those projects were to study the moon and the manned missions would have had to be timed just right. The cost was so great, that there was no time for astronomy. SELENE on the other hand is orbiting the moon on a polar orbit and has a camera for catching such things as this, even as it maps the surface.

Olivia - I was reminded of some of the sequences in 2001: A Space Odyssey.