Eclipse from Space: Stunning video of the Moon’s shadow covering the Earth

On April 8, millions of eyewitnesses from Mexico, the USA and Canada got a unique opportunity to observe a total solar eclipse in 2024. At a time when people were choosing convenient places to observe, some of which turned out to be unlucky due to cloudy weather, the astronauts on the International Space Station got the best angle to contemplate the astronomical phenomenon. 

Those who were on the orbiting space station had the opportunity to enjoy a little bit the full majesty of the moon shadow that fell on the surface of the planet. The video footage, which the astronauts shared from an altitude of about 400 km above the Earth, shows a unique look at this event, which could not be interrupted even by the densest clouds. 

The video footage and photos of the solar eclipse from the ISS were not accidental. NASA had been preparing for this moment for months, slowly changing the trajectory of the station so that on April 8 it would be exactly where the event would take place. The result was a historical image of the moon’s shadow moving from New York State to Canadian Newfoundland. The eclipse was observed through the Cupola module by NASA flight engineers Matthew Dominick and Jeanette Epps.

In parallel with the ISS, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration used the GOES-East geostationary meteorological satellite to obtain an image of a total solar eclipse over the United States. The satellite’s peculiarity is that it rotates at an altitude of 35,785 km above the equator and at the same speed as the Earth, which allows it to stay above one point and observe how the shadow of the Moon falls on the surface. Other satellites were able to observe a decrease in surface temperature in the shadow of the Moon on Earth during the eclipse, as the amount of sunlight hitting the earth decreased.

GOES-East’s view to the moon’s shadow on April 8 during the solar eclipse. Animation: NASA

The next solar total eclipse will occur in 2026 over Greenland, Iceland, Spain and Portugal. But over the United States, a similar phenomenon will occur no earlier than in 20 years. However, in 2031, the operation of the ISS will be discontinued. But since NASA plans to create a permanent base on the surface of the Moon, it is possible that in 2044 we will see photos of the moon’s shadow passing over the United States, taken from the point of view of lunar explorers.

Earlier, we showed the best photos of the great American solar eclipse.

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