Solar Eclipse over Antarctica
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Solar Eclipse over Antarctica

November 25, 2003
The moon cast a long shadow over Antarctica on November 23, 2003, in the continent’s first recorded total solar eclipse. The sun typically hangs low on the horizon during the southernmost continent’s almost-summer months, so when the Moon moved between the Sun and the Earth, its shadow fell in a roughly 500-kilometer long oval like the long shadows of a early summer dawn. At the time this image was taken, the sun was at approximately 15 degrees above the horizon. The shadow’s long circular shape is the same pattern a flashlight casts an the floor when held at a similar angle. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Aqua satellite captured this image of the eclipse between 23:15 and 23:20 UTC. The eclipse started at 22:08 UTC, and the shadow passed from the surface of the earth a little over an hour later at 23:20 UTC. The sun’s light was completely blocked at 22:49 for one minute and 55 seconds.

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