The 2017 American solar eclipse may have already come and gone, but while most people walked outside with ISO-certified glasses to stare at the Sun while it took place, NASA went above and beyond to capture the event from different perspectives.
Just this week, the space agency shared an awesome illustration from the viewpoint of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) that shows how the Solar Eclipse cast large a shadow over the United States.
Image Credit: NASA/LRO
The image shows the most defined part of the shadow manifesting just above Nashville, Tennessee.
To make the shot possible, NASA commanded the LRO to turn 180º, so its Narrow-Angle Camera faced the Earth instead of the Moon’s surface.
The image capture began around 2:25:30 PM Eastern time, but NASA notes how the camera uses a technique very different than most point-and-shoot cameras to create a picture.
Rather than grabbing an instantaneous shot, the Narrow-Angle Camera took 18 seconds to capture all the data needed to form this shot. The image was built line-by-line until 52,224 lines in total were composed to generate a full picture.
NASA says the LRO was traveling north from the Moon’s south pole at 3,579 miles per hour when it took the shot, and that the Moon’s massive shadow was moving across the United States at more than 1,500 miles per hour.
Another fascinating tidbit, NASA touts the LRO didn’t experience any hiccups in power despite being in the Moon’s shadow throughout the image capture.
NASA launched the LRO in 2009, but because it operates on solar power, it has a long life expectancy ahead. Not only does the orbiter provide useful information about our Moon, but sometimes in cases such as this, it can provide information about our Earth from the Moon’s perspective.