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Antarctic total solar eclipse shows off shadowy beauty in space shots

NASA astronauts on the ISS witness the fall of darkness across the cold continent.

The crew of the ISS piled into the station's cupola to watch the total solar eclipse of early December 2021 fall across Antarctica. The Russian Nauka module of the ISS appears on the right.

Usually, eclipse fans will flock to the dark path of totality of a solar eclipse, but that was a tall order for the eclipse that happened this past weekend. The full eclipse was only visible from Antarctica. The residents of the International Space Station, however, had a great view.

NASA shared photos of the eclipse as seen from the ISS. "Saturday morning, the Expedition 66 crew squeezed into the Cupola to check out the total solar eclipse that occurred over Antarctica and the Southern Ocean," said astronaut Kayla Barron. "Here the moon casts an oblong shadow on the Earth's surface. It was an incredible sight to behold."

The cupola is a module on the ISS fitted with multiple windows that give astronauts a stunning view of the planet below.

For another space perspective on the eclipse, NASA shared the scene as witnessed by the space-weather-monitoring Dscovr (Deep Space Climate Observatory) spacecraft. "This image of our home planet shows how Earth looked from more than 950,000 miles, or 1.5 million kilometers, away during the total solar eclipse visible in Antarctica on Dec. 4, 2021," said NASA.

The Dec. 4, 2021 solar eclipse as seen by the Dscovr spacecraft.


Dscovr's image highlights a round, dark shadow falling on Antarctica as the moon blocked the sun's light.

People on the ground (or on board ships) who were lucky enough to catch the eclipse saw what looked like a dark, round circle overtake the sun. In places where the total eclipse was visible, the sky went dark for a couple minutes. The view from space was very different, but just as thrilling.