On Dec. 4, NOAA’s Deep Space Climate Observatory (DISCOVR) took a photo to track a total solar eclipse as the moon’s shadow passed over a remote stretch of Antarctica and the south pole.
The moon’s shadow appears as a dark blotch at the very bottom of our Earth, which was taken from a distance of more than 950,000 miles (1.5 million km).
“It would have been a long way for most of us to travel to go see the total solar eclipse in Antarctica this past weekend, but we’d have to travel even further to get this view,” the Planetary Society space advocacy group observed on Twitter of the image.
DISCOVR’s Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera, or EPIC, built by NASA, captured the view.
“The EPIC instrument on the DSCOVR spacecraft captured the eclipse’s umbra, the dark, inner shadow of planet Earth,” NASA officials wrote in a description. “Shaped like a cone extending into space, it has a circular cross-section most easily seen during an eclipse.”
DISCOVR also obtained a full-disc vision of Earth, which even astronauts could not see. However, the International Space Station’s Expedition 66 crew did notice an oblong shadow from a distance of 250 miles (400 kilometers).
DISCOVR is a spacecraft that tracks the solar wind or the continuous stream of particles that travels through the solar system from our sun. The solar wind carries charged particles that can affect anything from auroral activity to satellites, power lines, even astronaut health, according to Live Science.
Although Antarctica was less accessible than usual, several future solar eclipses will take place in significantly more accessible locations (including one in 2024 that crosses the United States.)