Millions of people across the world observed the total lunar eclipse on October 8th. One NASA probe also watched it, from Mercury.
The MESSENGER probe was situated about 66 million miles from Earth when it snapped a series of 31 photos. Watch the Moon wink out as it passes into the Earth’s shadow. Pretty cool stuff.
“From Mercury, the Earth and Moon normally appear as if they were two very bright stars,” noted Hari Nair, a planetary scientist at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, said in a statement. “During a lunar eclipse, the Moon seems to disappear during its passage through the Earth’s shadow, as shown in the movie.”
Nair also said the image was altered so we could clearly see the moon disappear.
What’s next for the MESSENGER probe? It’ll stay in Mercury’s orbit for about five more months before it runs out of fuel and crashes.
You can learn more about the MESSENGER probe and its discoveries here.
Image credit: NASA/JHUAPL/CIW