An Eclipse of the Earth!

Oh my goodness, you absolutely have to see this.

The DSCOVR satellite (previously Al Gore’s pet project, Triana, but finally launched last February, about twelve years late and on a different launch vehicle) is positioned in a halo orbit around the Sun-Earth L1 point.  It’s a bit like the SOHO satellite in that respect, except that it points its cameras in the other direction — DSCOVR looks at Earth.  It takes fully illuminated full-disk images of Earth with its EPIC instrument (the Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera) about every six minutes.  Since it isn’t precisely on the L1 point, but rather looping gently around it, it isn’t exactly precisely between the Earth and the Sun.  This gives it a better than average chance of catching this: an eclipse of the Earth by the Moon.  Well, technically it’s a transit, since the Moon’s disk is so much smaller, but what’s surreal about this is that the Moon is much closer to DSCOVR than it is to Earth, so the Moon appears bigger than it really is relative to the Earth’s size.  (If the Earth were a basketball, the Moon would be a tennis ball.)

But enough talk — check out the video!


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