Solar eclipse from space! Watch the moon's shadow sweep across Earth in satellite footage (video)

view of earth as a circle with a shadow in the middle. clouds and land dot the globe. australia is visible at bottom
Japan's Himawari weather satellite spotted the April 19, 2023 hybrid solar eclipse from space. (Image credit: Simon Proud/NCEO/JMA)

A silent shadow creeps across Earth in a unique view of a solar eclipse.

Japan's Himawari weather satellite spotted the rare hybrid solar eclipse Wednesday (April 19) from geostationary orbit, at an altitude of about 22,300 miles (36,000 kilometers). That's roughly 10 times higher than the International Space Station flies.

Climate scientist Simon Proud, who is affiliated with the United Kingdom's National Centre for Earth Observation, processed the data and shared it on Twitter. "You can see the moon's shadow zooming from left to right," Proud posted in a thread today (April 20).

Related: Rare hybrid solar eclipse 2023 delights South Pacific skywatchers (photos)

Solar eclipses occur when the moon blots out a part of the sun's disk from Earth's perspective. (Never look at a solar eclipse without protection, and use basic safety protocols to keep your eyes safe.)

Hybrid solar eclipses include a combination of all three kinds of eclipses along the entire track: partial, total and annular "ring of fire" eclipses. Observers in one particular location will only see one of the set of eclipse types, however.

The solar eclipse — which took place on Wednesday and today — was visible in a narrow band in the Southern Hemisphere, mostly in remote locations at sea. A total solar eclipse was visible from Exmouth Peninsula in Western Australia, Timor Leste and West Papua.

If you want to get all set up to view a solar eclipse, we have guides to the best cameras for astrophotography, and the best lenses for astrophotography. Our how to photograph a solar eclipse guide will also help you plan for your next solar-observing adventure. 

Elizabeth Howell is the co-author of "Why Am I Taller?" (ECW Press, 2022; with Canadian astronaut Dave Williams), a book about space medicine. Follow her on Twitter @howellspace. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook.

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Elizabeth Howell
Staff Writer, Spaceflight

Elizabeth Howell (she/her), Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022 covering diversity, education and gaming as well. She was contributing writer for for 10 years before joining full-time. Elizabeth's reporting includes multiple exclusives with the White House and Office of the Vice-President of the United States, an exclusive conversation with aspiring space tourist (and NSYNC bassist) Lance Bass, speaking several times with the International Space Station, witnessing five human spaceflight launches on two continents, flying parabolic, working inside a spacesuit, and participating in a simulated Mars mission. Her latest book, "Why Am I Taller?", is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University and a Bachelor of History from Canada's Athabasca University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science at several institutions since 2015; her experience includes developing and teaching an astronomy course at Canada's Algonquin College (with Indigenous content as well) to more than 1,000 students since 2020. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday. Mastodon: