Incredible footage of total solar eclipse from space – and when the next one is

By John Mercury April 9, 2024

One of the most anticipated moments of the year has come and gone as a total solar eclipse swept across North America.

As millions of spectators gazed at the phenomenon from the ground, Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite captured the eclipse during an orbit.

Astronauts from NASA witnessed the event from space as the International Space Station shared a clip that showed the shadow of the moon passing over the Earth.

Read more:
Best pictures and videos of the eclipse

Scientists from the space agency “chased” the eclipse aboard three WB-57 jet planes travelling at 460mph to collect data on the corona – the sun’s outer atmosphere.

Taking place 50,000ft in the air, the mission aimed to see how the sun impacts Earth’s atmosphere, how the sun’s own atmosphere works, and to search for possible asteroids orbiting the star.

Pic: AP Photo/LM Otero
Image:
Pic: AP Photo/LM Otero

Total solar eclipse moments across the US
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A halo was spotted encircling the moon

The Mexican beach town of Mazatlan was the first place to witness the cosmic event at around 11.15am local time (7.15pm UK time).

Hundreds of people wearing protective glasses had gathered in a beachside park and passed the time by listening to a youth orchestra playing Star Wars songs as images of Princess Leia were projected on a big screen.

Eclipse
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Hundreds cheered as they were shrouded in darkness

For onlookers, the total eclipse lasted up to four minutes and 28 seconds.

As the sun was covered by the moon, darkness descended and there was also a noticeable temperature drop.

The eclipse moved through multiple US states and major cities – including Dallas, Indianapolis, Cleveland, Buffalo and New York – before making its way to eastern Canada.

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How the eclipse unfolded

It took just one hour and 40 minutes for the eclipse to race along its 4,000-mile course and an early afternoon chill swept across Texas as it began its journey across the United States.

Eyewitness:
A breathtaking and unifying moment
Watchers in tears at iconic race track

Missed out? Save the next eclipse dates

The feat of the moon totally shielding the sun is not as uncommon as one might think.

Total solar eclipses can happen once every 18 months anywhere across the world, however, they are often only visible from Earth’s poles or from the middle of the ocean, making this year’s one a rarity.

For those who missed out on the phenomenon, or if clouds scuppered the views like many from the UK, the next full solar eclipse is in 2026 and will pass over the northern fringes of Greenland, Iceland and Spain.

Those in the US will have to be patient as the next totality will be in 2033 when an eclipse brushes Alaska and Russia.

In 2044, one will cross Greenland and western Canada, but an eclipse on the scale of Monday’s event will not happen again until August 2045.

Read more:
Moon to get its own time zone created by NASA

A sight for sore eyes

People flocked in their droves to watch the “breathtaking and unifying” moment as Sky News Mark Stone described.

However, following the eclipse, Google searches about “hurt eyes” and “eye pain” spiked in the US suggesting some people in the sun’s path were worried they had glanced at it too long.

Eye experts flagged the searches as valid concerns as looking at the sun without the proper protective wear can cause eye damage.

Coupled with the eye strain searches was the topic of photic (solar) retinopathy, which saw a 1,200% surge.

This is when intense light damages the retina – the inner lining of the back part of the eye – which the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus (AAPOS) links to sun-gazing or viewing a solar eclipse.

It added some people suffer from blurry eyesight after the event, and while some fully recover their vision slowly over months, others will have permanent vision loss.

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