NASA’s LRO Observes 2024 Solar Eclipse Shadow

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As the Moon blotted out the Sun to viewers across the United States during the April 8 solar eclipse, NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) captured an image from some 223,000 miles away of the highly anticipated celestial event.

There are three cameras that comprise the LRO camera (LROC) suite: two Narrow Angle Cameras (NAC) and one Wide Angle Camera. The Earth’s image with the shadow in it was acquired by one of the two Narrow Angle Cameras.

The LROC Narrow Angle Cameras are line scanner cameras: they only have one line of pixels, and images are built up line-by-line by the spacecraft’s motion as it orbits the Moon.

Acquiring an image of Earth requires the spacecraft to rapidly rotate to build up the image.

LRO is managed by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. Launched on June 18, 2009, LRO has collected a treasure trove of data with its seven powerful instruments, making an invaluable contribution to our knowledge about the Moon. NASA is returning to the Moon with commercial and international partners to expand human presence in space and bring back new knowledge and opportunities.

By Mark Robinson and edited by Nancy Neal Jones

Nancy Neal Jones
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

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