Astronaut reveals what a solar eclipse looks like from space as 2024’s looms

An astronaut's perspective on the solar eclipse
  • The April 2024 solar eclipse will be visible, at least in part, to nearly everyone in the US
  • Millions of people are making plans to find the best spot to enjoy it
  • But a handful of humans already know they’ll have the most unique vantage point of all

Published on Apr 4, 2024 at 7:22PM (UTC+4)

Last updated on Apr 5, 2024 at 7:47PM (UTC+4)

Edited by Adam Gray
Astronaut reveals what a solar eclipse looks like from space as 2024's looms

With a total solar eclipse set for next week, millions of people are making plans to find the best spot to enjoy it.

They won’t quite have the unique vantage point that a handful of humans will have, though.

We’re referring to the astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS), who will enjoy a global view of the eclipse.

READ MORE! NASA spacecraft to ‘touch’ the sun at staggering speed in 2024

When it happens, they’ll be able to see the Moon’s entire shadow as it moves across the whole continent of North America, from Mexico to Maine.

The closest we’d get to having a similar experience would be aboard Delta Airlines’ path-of-totality flight.

That being said, it’s not like we’ve only had this solar eclipse sprung on us – a newspaper clipping from 1970 predicted it.

Whilst the astronauts aboard the ISS get front-row seats, they won’t be able to experience the sudden plunge into darkness that Earth-bound viewers in the path of totality will enjoy.

But, as they orbit at 17,500 mph (28,164 km/h) 260 miles up (418 km), they already get a sunrise or sunset every 45 minutes.

Another advantage astronauts have over us having no concerns about the weather.

According to weather folk, some locations will have clouds next week, but that’s not an issue from space, where they’ll look down on a ‘big black spot’, as former astronaut Col. Terry Virts describes it.

During his time as commander of the ISS, Virts was fortunate enough to witness a solar eclipse over the North Atlantic.

“There was this big black spot on the planet, and it was kind of unsettling,” he told FOX TV Stations.

“Actually, I’m glad we knew there was going to be an eclipse because if you had just looked out the window and saw this black spot moving across Earth, that would have been a little disconcerting.

“But thankfully, NASA warned us – ‘Hey, there’s an eclipse.’

“And it was really cool to see that from a very different perspective.”

But just like us mere mortals, Virts got to enjoy a more traditional view of the 2017 total solar eclipse on the ground from Bend, Oregon, which was in the path of totality.

“That was spectacular,” he said, talking of the experience.

“It was really amazing.”

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