SDO Eclipses & Transits: March 2013

  • Released Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) orbits the Earth in a geosynchronous orbit (see The 2012 Earth-Orbiting Heliophysics Fleet and RBSP & SDO: Newest Heliophysics Missions) which keeps the spacecraft in contact with the ground station.

This motion of the spacecraft around Earth, combined with the motion of the Moon around Earth, and the motion of Earth around the Sun creates opportunities for eclipses and transits involving these other bodies (see Lunar Transit from Solar Dynamics Observatory (2010). On rare occasions, SDO can see an eclipse and transit on the same day, as illustrated in these images collected from March 11, 2013.

These eclipses and transits are not just visually interesting, but important for mission planners as SDO receives much of the electrical power needed to function through solar panels. During these times, SDO needs to operate safely with power from onboard batteries until the time that full solar power can be restored.


Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio

Release date

This page was originally published on Tuesday, February 11, 2014.
This page was last updated on Wednesday, May 3, 2023 at 1:51 PM EDT.


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