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The Bruce Murray Space Image Library

SDO observes its first lunar transit

Filed under pretty pictures, animation, global views, many worlds, the Sun, the Moon, solar eclipse, solar observing spacecraft

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On October 7, 2010, NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) observed its first lunar transit when the new Moon passed directly between the spacecraft (in its geosynchronous orbit) and the Sun. With SDO watching the Sun in a wavelength of extreme ultraviolet light, the dark Moon created a partial eclipse of the Sun.

NASA / SDO

These images, while unusual and cool to see, have practical value to the SDO science team. Karel Schrijver of Lockheed-Martin's Solar and Astrophysics Lab explains: "The very sharp edge of the lunar limb allows us to measure the in-orbit characteristics of the telescope e.g., light diffraction on optics and filter support grids. Once these are characterized, we can use that information to correct our data for instrumental effects and sharpen up the images to even more detail."

To learn more about SDO go to: sdo.gsfc.nasa.gov

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
Contact us to request publication permission from the copyright holder. Original image data dated on or about October 7, 2010

 

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