Palm Tree Partial Eclipse

Only those along the narrow track of the Moon’s shadow on April 8 saw a total solar eclipse. But most of North America still saw a partial eclipse of the Sun. From Clearwater, Florida, USA this single snapshot captured multiple images of that more widely viewed celestial event without observing the Sun directly. In the shade of a palm tree, criss-crossing fronds are projecting recognizable eclipse images on the ground, pinhole camera style. In Clearwater the maximum eclipse phase was about 53 percent. Solar Eclipse Imagery: Notable Submissions to APOD

Total Totality

Baily’s beads often appear at the boundaries of the total phase of an eclipse of the Sun. Pearls of sunlight still beaming through gaps in the rugged terrain along the lunar limb silhouette, their appearance is recorded in this dramatic timelapse composite. The series of images follows the Moon’s edge from beginning through the end of totality during April 8’s solar eclipse from Durango, Mexico. They also capture pinkish prominences of plasma arcing high above the edge of the active Sun. One of the first places in North America visited by the Moon’s shadow on April 8, totality in Durango lasted about 3 minutes and 46 seconds. Solar Eclipse Imagery: Notable Submissions to APOD

Eclipse in Seven

Start at the upper left above and you can follow the progress of April 8’s total eclipse of the Sun in seven sharp, separate exposures. The image sequence was recorded with a telescope and camera located within the narrow path of totality as the Moon’s shadow swept across Newport, Vermont, USA. At center is a spectacular view of the solar corona. The tenuous outer atmosphere of the Sun is only easily visible to the eye in clear dark skies during the total eclipse phase. Seen from Newport, the total phase for this solar eclipse lasted about 3 minutes and 26 seconds. Monday’s Eclipse Imagery: Notable Submissions to APOD

Planets Around a Total Eclipse

What wonders appear when the Moon blocks the Sun? For many eager observers of Monday’s total eclipse of the Sun, the suddenly dark sky included the expected corona and two (perhaps surprise) planets: Venus and Jupiter. Normally, in recent days, Venus is visible only in the morning when the Sun and Jupiter are below the horizon, while Jupiter appears bright only in the evening. On Monday, though, for well-placed observers, both planets became easily visible during the day right in line with the totally eclipsed Sun. This line was captured Monday afternoon in the featured image from Mount Nebo, Arkansas, USA, along with a line of curious observers — and a picturesque tree. Monday’s Eclipse Imagery: Notable Submissions to APOD

Moon’s Shadow over Lake Magog

Captured in this snapshot, the shadow of the Moon came to Lake Magog, Quebec, North America, planet Earth on April 8. For the lakeside eclipse chasers, the much anticipated total solar eclipse was a spectacle to behold in briefly dark, but clear skies. Of course Lake Magog was one of the last places to be visited by the Moon’s shadow. The narrow path of totality for the 2024 total solar eclipse swept from Mexico’s Pacific Coast north and eastward through the US and Canada. But a partial eclipse was visible across the entire North American continent. Total Eclipse Imagery: Notable Submissions to APOD

The Changing Ion Tail of Comet Pons-Brooks

How does a comet tail change? It depends on the comet. The ion tail of Comet 12P/Pons–Brooks has been changing markedly, as detailed in the featured image sequenced over nine days from March 6 to 14 (top to bottom). On some days, the comet’s ion tail was relatively long and complex, but not every day. Reasons for tail changes include the rate of ejection of material from the comet’s nucleus, the strength and complexity of the passing solar wind, and the rotation rate of the comet. Over the course of a week, apparent changes even include a change of perspective from the Earth. In general, a comet’s ion tail will point away from the Sun, as gas expelled is pushed out by the Sun’s wind. Today, Pons-Brooks may become a rare comet suddenly visible in the middle of the day for those able to see the Sun totally eclipsed by the Moon. NASA Coverage: Today’s Total Solar Eclipse Total Eclipse Imagery: Notable Submissions to APOD

A Total Solar Eclipse over Wyoming

Will the sky be clear enough to see the eclipse? This question is already on the minds of many North Americans hoping to see tomorrow’s solar eclipse. This question was also on the mind of many people attempting to see the total solar eclipse that crossed North America in August 2017. Then, the path of total darkness shot across the mainland of the USA from coast to coast, from Oregon to South Carolina — but, like tomorrow’s event, a partial eclipse occurred above most of North America. Unfortunately, in 2017, many locations saw predominantly clouds. One location that did not was a bank of the Green River Lakes, Wyoming. Intermittent clouds were far enough away to allow the center image of the featured composite sequence to be taken, an image that shows the corona of the Sun extending out past the central dark Moon that blocks our familiar Sun. The surrounding images show the partial phases of the solar eclipse both before and after totality. NASA Coverage: Tomorrow’s Total Solar Eclipse

Unwinding M51

The arms of a grand design spiral galaxy 60,000 light-years across are unwound in this digital transformation of the magnificent 2005 Hubble Space Telescope portrait of M51. In fact, M51 is one of the original spiral nebulae, its winding arms described by a mathematical curve known as a logarithmic spiral, a spiral whose separation grows in a geometric way with increasing distance from the center. Applying logarithms to shift the pixel coordinates in the Hubble image relative to the center of M51 maps the galaxy’s spiral arms into diagonal straight lines. The transformed image dramatically shows the arms themselves are traced by star formation, lined with pinkish starforming regions and young blue star clusters. Companion galaxy NGC 5195 (top) seems to alter the track of the arm in front of it though, and itself remains relatively unaffected by this unwinding of M51. Also known as the spira mirabilis, logarthimic spirals can be found in nature on all scales. For example, logarithmic spirals can also describe hurricanes, the tracks of subatomic particles in a bubble chamber and, of course, cauliflower. NASA Coverage: Total Solar Eclipse of 2024 April 8

The Solar Corona Unwrapped

Changes in the alluring solar corona are detailed in this creative composite image mapping the dynamic outer atmosphere of the Sun during two separate total solar eclipses. Unwrapped from the complete circle of the eclipsed Sun’s edge to a rectangle and mirrored, the entire solar corona is shown during the 2017 eclipse (bottom) seen from Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and the 2023 eclipse from Exmouth, Western Australia. While the 2017 eclipse was near a minimum in the Sun’s 11 year activity cycle, the 2023 eclipse was closer to solar maximum. The 2023 solar corona hints at the dramatically different character of the active Sun, with many streamers and pinkish prominences arising along the solar limb. Of course, the solar corona is only easily visible to the eye while standing in the shadow of the Moon. NASA Coverage: Total Solar Eclipse of 2024 April 8

Comet Pons-Brooks at Night

In dark evening skies over June Lake, northern hemisphere, planet Earth, Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks stood just above the western horizon on March 30. Its twisted turbulent ion tail and diffuse greenish coma are captured in this two degree wide telescopic field of view along with bright yellowish star Hamal also known as Alpha Arietis. Now Pons-Brooks has moved out of the northern night though, approaching perihelion on April 21. On April 8 you might still spot the comet in daytime skies. But to do it, you will have to stand in the path of totality and look away from the spectacle of an alluring solar corona and totally eclipsed Sun. NASA Coverage: Total Solar Eclipse of 2024 April 8

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