While many hopeful viewers of Thursday's total solar eclipse were disappointed because of heavy cloud cover, the folks at the European Space Agency had one heck of a view. Thanks to its Proba-2 minisatellite beaming pictures back to Earth, the ESA was able to capture the moon as it slid between the sun and the Earth, blocking the main sphere of the ball of fire from view and allowing its corona to be observed in all its swirling glory. (Don't blink -- the video moves quickly!)
The Proba-2 was launched by the ESA in November 2009 to monitor the sun. It has four different instruments on-board to help it in its task, including two that monitor ultraviolet light and two that measure space weather such as electron densities in the Earth's magnetosphere.
The images of the eclipse were captured by Proba-2's SWAP imager (which is a much better name for it than "sun watcher using APS detectors and image processing"). Because the imager's telescope sees in the extreme ultraviolet spectrum of light, it's able to get a good look at the sun's corona, the plume-filled outer atmosphere of the sun. That makes it a pretty good eclipse capturer, don't you think?