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What's that dark spot on planet Earth? It's the shadow of the Moon. The above image of Earth was taken last week by MTSAT during an annular eclipse of the Sun. The dark spot appears quite unusual as clouds are white and the oceans are blue in this color corrected image.
Earthlings residing within the dark spot would see part of the Sun blocked by the Moon and so receive less sunlight than normal. The spot moved across the Earth at nearly 2,000 kilometers per hour, giving many viewers less than two hours to see a partially eclipsed Sun.
MTSAT circles the Earth in a geostationary orbit and so took the above image from about three Earth-diameters away.
Sky enthusiasts might want to keep their eyes pointed upward this coming week as a partial eclipse of the Moon will occur on June 4 and a transit of Venus across the face of the Sun will occur on June 5.
This image was produced from data from EUMETSAT's Meteosat-7 satellite which is located over the Indian Ocean, received over EUMETCast by my MSG Data Manager, with the false-colour combination produced by my GeoSatSignal-7 software combining both visible-channel and thermal-channel data from the satellite. Credit: GeoSatSignal
The moon cast a long shadow over Antarctica on November 23, 2003, in a total solar eclipse. The sun typically hangs low on the horizon during the southernmost continent’s almost-summer months, so when the Moon moved between the Sun and the Earth, its shadow fell in a roughly 500-kilometer long oval like the long shadows of a early summer dawn. At the time this image was taken, the sun was at approximately 15 degrees above the horizon. The shadow’s long circular shape is the same pattern a flashlight casts an the floor when held at a similar angle.