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Here's a total solar eclipse on Earth as seen from the moon

The US is about to be treated to a rare coast-to-coast eclipse, but at least one robot will also be watching from a distance.

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The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter turned toward Earth in May 2012 to capture a total solar eclipse over Alaska.

NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University

By now you've heard that you can only see the great American 2017 total eclipse along the 70-mile wide path of totality, but technically it can be observed from elsewhere, like around the moon itself.

Back in 2012, NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) turned around to take a series of pictures of a total solar eclipse from its vantage point around the very celestial body blocking out the sun on Earth. 

You can see the results above. The dark spot observed over the Aleutian Islands all the way from the moon nearly a quarter million miles away is a testament to just how weird and spectacular the rare event is.

LRO plans to document the eclipse across America on Aug. 21 the same way. Specifically, the plan is for the spacecraft to turn toward us at 11:25 a.m. PT to capture an image of the moon's shadow on Earth during the moment of greatest eclipse over western Kentucky.

NASA is encouraging the people of Earth to wave at LRO at that moment because, well, that's the sort of thing NASA likes to ask people to do.

"While people should not expect to see themselves in the images, this campaign is a great way to personalize the eclipse experience," said Noah Petro, LRO deputy project scientist.

Sure, why not? Just don't forget to strap on your eclipse glasses when you're looking up and waving at the moon Monday.  

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