It’s Not Planet-X



A pretty interesting occurrence regarding several recent images taken of the sun from the SDO (Solar Dynamics Observatory) took place yesterday, 6-Dec-2010.

The images have been spotted by a few folks out there and it also had my curiosity peaked for awhile. I thought I would share it for those interested in such things.

It appeared as though a large disc or interplanetary object passed in front of the sun, and was captured in several image frames and movie files from the SDO yesterday. Rumors started spreading fast about Planet-X and other such things.

Here is a video that someone nicely put together showing the fly-by.

What really happened?

The SDO is in a stationary orbit, about 22,000 miles above New Mexico, and is always facing the sun while capturing high resolution images in various wavelengths. A helpful explanation can be found here.

What happened was, the moon crossed the line-of-site between the SDO telescopes and the sun, and was captured doing so.

The following image simulates the “look” as though you were on-board the SDO, and illustrates what happened.

Thanks to Dr. Tony Phillips of NASA who filled me in on what had happened.


This is another perspective angle from the vantage point of the sun looking back towards the Earth and the SDO orbit while the moon partially eclipses the sun.


What does this have to do with modern survival, you might ask? Well, actually not much. I just though it was neat.

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