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Eclipses Throughout Our Universe – Out There

An exercise in cosmic geometry. A reminder that we live on one sphere among many, all moving to the laws of Kepler, Newton and Einstein. The moon’s orbit around the Earth is slightly tilted, so the shadow of the new moon usually passes above or below us. About twice a year, the three bodies briefly align, and the moon’s long shadow cuts across our planet. The day dies and is reborn. The sun is replaced by an inky hole, feathered with the pale corona, a million degrees hotter than the sun itself. Staring up into the cone of blackness you can feel the cosmic gears grinding. Two minutes of beauty and terror.

See what an eclipse can look like from the International Space Station or the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), what it looks like when Mercury, Venus, or the moons of other planets transit the sun, as well as how we use transits to discover planets beyond our solar system: Eclipses Throughout Our Universe, a video from The New York TimesOut There series.

Next: More shadows and more eclipse videos, including How to watch a total or partial solar eclipse, NASA’s SDO captures the Mercury Transit, see ISS transit the moon, and how do solar & lunar eclipses work?

Plus: How can we know anything about distant exoplanets?

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