A "shaky" solar eclipse in space was captured by one of NASA's sun-gazing spacecraft. The agency's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) caught the eclipse on camera on Sunday (Oct. 30).
SDO's footage of the partial solar eclipse shows the sun appearing to have tremors, but the shivering wasn't due to worries about Halloween.
"Instead, the shaking results from slight adjustments in SDO's guidance system, which normally relies upon viewing the entire sun to center the images between exposures," NASA officials wrote in a statement.
The moon passed across the sun’s face for about an hour, between 3:56 p.m. and 4:56 p.m. EDT (1956 to 2056 GMT), during Sunday's eclipse, which was visible from SDO's vantage point in Earth orbit but not from the ground. At peak coverage, the moon obscured about 59 percent of the sun.
"The moon's shadow obstructs SDO's otherwise constant view of the sun, and the shadow's edge is sharp and distinct, since the moon has no atmosphere which would distort sunlight," NASA officials said in the same statement.
SDO's images were taken in extreme ultraviolet light, which is invisible to human eyes. In these images, the sun is colored red.
While SDO happened to be in the right spot for Sunday's eclipse, the primary goal of the spacecraft's $800 million mission involves helping scientists learn more about the sun's variable activity. SDO's data could lead to better "space weather" predictions for Earth, NASA officials have said.
When the sun is extremely active, huge eruptions of solar plasma known as coronal mass ejections can slam into Earth's atmosphere, spawning geomagnetic storms that can disrupt power grids, satellite navigation and other infrastructure humans depend on. These storms can also ramp up the northern and southern lights.
SDO launched in February 2010.