Over 50,000 thousand of sky-gazers were captivated with yesterday's solar eclipse with the best views offered at Cairns in Far North Queensland, Australia. However, a European satellite was able to capture images of the extraordinary phenomenon from an exclusive viewpoint.
The European Space Agency's Proba-2 Satellite has a direct view of the sun where events from the orbit are recorded. Though the entire solar eclipse was not captured, the satellite's ultraviolet-light camera still filmed partial views of the solar eclipse three separate times as the moon traveled directly in front of the sun. Also, the Proba-2 captured breathtaking solar storms, sun spots and other solar weather as the moon went in and out of the satellite's sight.
"The satellite also spent hours collecting data of the solar environment further away from the sun before and after the main eclipse event, providing context for the ground-based observations," Joe Zender, ESA's Proba-2 mission manager, declared in a statement.
Astronomers use the solar eclipse in the sun's unusual visible-light examination from the ground and the satellite's ultraviolet measurements of the eclipse can be of help. "Combining visible light observations with the extreme ultraviolet images from Proba-2 gives us a unique opportunity to access difficult-to-see regions of the sun at different wavelengths, during a rare event such as a total solar eclipse," Zender added.
Also, Proba-2 mission scientists personally experienced the total solar eclipse in the Australian coast and one of them is scientist Anik De Groof. "We got all a bit nervous when after sunrise the partially eclipsed sun was covered by a big cloud, but five minutes before totality, the cloud dissolved and we could watch 'Baily's beads' form - the effect where beads of sunlight shine through the rugged lunar landscape," De Groof said. "At totality, we could see the red chromosphere and the corona in the most beautiful conditions. It was fantastic!" De Groof exclaimed.
Meanwhile, the next solar eclipse is reported to occur on May 10, 2013. It will also be an annular solar eclipse just like the one last May 2012. The solar eclipse will be visible in some parts of Australia, eastern Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and the Gilbert Islands in the southern Pacific Ocean.
Take a look at the solar eclipse footage captured on satellite.