[ music ] On March 20th, 2015, the shadow of the Moon will cross the surface of the Earth and create a total solar eclipse. By calculating the position of the Earth and the Sun on this date, we can produce several visualizations of the shadow. First we have the Moon's orbit leading up to the eclipse. Here the Earth, Moon, shadows, and orbit are all to scale. Now, what will the solar eclipse look like from space? From well beyond the Moon's far side, the shadow appears circular. Viewed from above the location on Earth where maximum eclipse will occur, the shadow would appear elongated. It hits the Earth near a point south of Greenland and departs very near the North Pole. The central black dot you see is the umbra, where the sun is completely covered by the Moon. The fainter, much larger shadow is the penumbra, where the Sun is only partially obscured. The Faroe Islands of Denmark and the Svalbard islands off Norway are in the path of the umbra, while the penumbra covers all of Europe, and extends to North Africa and Russia. Back in May 2012, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter turned its camera away from the Moon and toward Earth, capturing this stunning image of the Moon's shadow during the annular eclipse. So, no matter where we view them from, solar eclipses are a dramatic spectacle made possible by the shadow of the Moon.