Watch a double eclipse of the sun as seen from outer space

It's eclipse season for the Solar Dynamics Observatory, and it's kicking off with both the Earth and the moon passing in front of the sun.

Michelle Starr Science editor
Michelle Starr is CNET's science editor, and she hopes to get you as enthralled with the wonders of the universe as she is. When she's not daydreaming about flying through space, she's daydreaming about bats.
Michelle Starr

Twice a year, around the time of the autumnal and vernal equinoxes, is the Solar Dynamics Observatory's eclipse season. From its vantage point in geosynchronous orbit around the Earth, the SDO's view of the sun is blocked once a day by the Earth.

And on the rare occasion, both the Earth and the moon pass between the SDO and the sun -- a rare double eclipse. One of these took place on September 1, when first the Earth, then the moon, were captured blocking out the sun as the SDO filmed the whole thing in hi-res.

It's not quite as dramatic as a solar eclipse take from the Earth, but it's still interesting if you know what you're looking at. Normally a solar eclipse seen from Earth, as the moon passes between the sun and us, has sharp crisp edges, but a lunar eclipse, where the Earth passes between the sun and the moon, is a little fuzzier. It's the same for the SDO eclipses, but write large.

This difference, NASA says, is because the Earth has an atmosphere and the moon doesn't; it's the sun's light shining through this atmosphere that gives the Earth fuzzy edges.

Here on Earth, viewers in most of Africa were treated by this particular lineup too, with an annular eclipse. This is when the moon is at its farthest point in its orbit around the Earth, and doesn't quite cover the sun, resulting in a spectacular "ring of fire" effect.