• Thursday , 21 September 2017

Watch From Space as Lightning Lights Up the Moon's Shadow During the Eclipse

Code Canyon

Where did you watch the eclipse? I thought I had a pretty good view, standing on a 180-foot terrace overlooking a forest with the city skyline in the background. It turns out that was nothing compared to the view from the perspective of space.

The GOES-16 satellite is a recently launched geostationary weather satellite, sitting about 22,300 miles above the surface of the Western Hemisphere, providing meteorological imagery and data. It was taking imagery as normal during the eclipse (shooting a new image every 5 minutes) and caught the moon’s shadow as it raced across the surface of the Earth at speeds between about 1,500 and 2,400 mph, as you can see in the video above. 

It gets even cooler, however. As part of its real-time severe weather tracking and forecast duties, the GOES-16 has a Geostationary Lightning Mapper. This too was functional during the eclipse, and it caught the video shown below.

While all the terrestrial shots of the eclipse were pretty remarkable, there’s something about watching the moon’s shadow flit across the Earth’s surface that really puts the entirety of the event in perspective for me. Then again, the sheer enormity of space seems to have a way of putting things in perspective.


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