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A NASA spacecraft has captured stunning footage of on February 21 partial solar eclipse, which left our star looking briefly like a huge celestial Pac-Man.
NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) snapped a video and photos of the solar eclipse from its lofty perch 22,000 miles (36,000 kilometers) above Earth. The partial solar eclipse provided more than just pretty pictures, however. During its travels, the moon briefly blocked sunspot AR1422, an active region that is blasting strong ultraviolet emissions into space. According to researchers this caused a dip in the EVE (extreme ultraviolet) output and may allow scientists to calibrate the energy emitted by the active region. Solar eclipses occur when the moon is in its new phase and at a point in its orbit that is between Earth and the sun. When the moon aligns perfectly with the sun, as viewed from Earth, a total solar eclipse occurs, while at other times the sun is only partly obscured. The next partial solar eclipse visible from Earth will occur May 20. Skywatchers in much of Asia, the Pacific and western North America will be able to see it. A total solar eclipse will take place November 13, but it will be visible only from parts of northern Australia and the South Pacific.
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