NASA observations put on hold while the moon photobombs the sun

NASA/SDO

It doesn’t matter if it's your prom night, a once in a lifetime vacation, or even your wedding day. Unexpected visitors can pop into the frame of your picture, distracting from the actual topic at hand. Nobody is safe from getting photobombed - not even the sun.

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) was monitoring the sun using a variety of instruments to gather information and several wavelengths. Though SDO usually has an unobstructed view, observations from this morning were interrupted by the moon transiting the sun. Not only did the moon partially eclipse the sun, it took its time doing it. It took about 2.5 hours for the moon to pass by, which is the longest transit ever recorded by SDO.

Fortunately, this did not interrupt operations too much, as scientists working at SDO are easily able to predict these events, which are not uncommon. Because the instruments are calibrated so that they stay focused on the entire sun, there was no way for them to move around the moon. Today’s event was the first of three that will happen in 2014. The next will by July 26.

Despite the moon’s cameo, SDO was still able to observe an M8 solar flare from one of the sun’s largest sunspot regions. Check the left hand side of the sun, just after the moon passes by.

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