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Solstice Eclipse

On June 21, 2020 an annular eclipse took place, reaching its maximum at 06:40 UTC. The annular phase of this solar eclipse was visible from parts of Africa (including the Central African Republic, Congo, and Ethiopia), south of Pakistan and northern India, and China. Given nice weather, observers in these areas saw the characteristic ring of fire. Indeed, eclipses come in a variety of types, including total eclipses where the Moon completely blocks the Sun's disk and partial eclipses where the Moon only covers part of the Sun. During an annular eclipse the Moon's disk covers the Sun, but a significant portion of the Sun's edge remains visible around the Moon, forming a bright annulus or ring.

Due to its observing position in Earth's orbit, PROBA2 did see an annular eclipse, but a more common partial eclipse. The movies below simulate the view of the SWAP instrument and show the actual observations. They illustrate very clearly that during this eclipse the Moon appeared no less then 5 times in the SWAP field of view! During some of these passages the Moon was only visible at the edge of the images (instead of covering the solar surface) and, due to the poor signal at the edge of the detector, it was very hard to see. The multiple appearances of the Moon are caused by the fact that while the Moon eclipses the Sun, PROBA2 is orbiting the Earth very quickly and can thus observe the spectacle several times. During one of these passages, more that 70% of the Sun's surface was covered by the Moon's disk (as seen from the perspective of PROBA2).


LYRA Observations

For the occasion, LYRA activated its least used backup unit (unit 1), which acquired in parallel with the nominal unit. The instrument showed the progressive extinction of the solar light in its channels that look in the ultraviolet and extreme ultraviolet. LYRA observations will be available in the event directory.

SWAP Observations

We made high cadence observations of this eclipse with SWAP and produced our typical sets of calibrated PNG images (with logos and timestamp, with timestamp only, and without logos or timestamp), as well as movies of the event. All the movies and images of the eclipse are collected in dedicated directories on our webpages. This directory also contains a specially selected SWAP image to promote the eclipse. This is the image with the largest part of the Sun occulted by the Moon.

Data Use Policy

All PROBA2 images and movies used in outreach and the media should be credited to "ESA/ROB". Additional information about the terms of use for PROBA2 data is available on the PROBA2 website.

Contacting the PROBA2 Team

All requests for media comments, data assistance, or planning requests can be directed to the SWAP and LYRA teams via