Earth  Planets and Moons  ID: 4275

The Total Solar Eclipse of 20 March 2015

On March 20, 2015, the shadow of the Moon crosses the surface of the Earth, creating a total solar eclipse. The eclipse occurs on the date of the March equinox, the start of spring in the northern hemisphere.

From well beyond the Moon's far side, the shadow appears circular. The central black dot is the umbra, where the Sun is completely covered by the Moon. The fainter, much larger shadow is the penumbra, where the Sun is only partially obscured.

Viewed from overhead, the umbra is quite elongated. It hits the Earth at a glancing angle, beginning at a point south of Greenland and departing very near the north pole. The Faroe Islands and the Svalbard archipeligo are in the path of the umbra, but the umbra just misses Iceland, and it crosses no other populated land.

The penumbra covers all of Europe and extends to north Africa and across most of Russia. Everyone in those places will see a partial eclipse.

Both astronauts and robotic probes have witnessed solar eclipses from space. For the annular eclipse in May of 2012, Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter turned its narrow-angle camera away from the Moon and toward Earth, capturing four still images of the Moon's shadow as it traveled from Japan to the Aleutian Islands and the west coast of the United States.


For More Information

NASA Eclipse Website

Visualization Credits

Ernie Wright (USRA): Lead Visualizer
David Ladd (USRA): Producer
John Keller (NASA/GSFC): Scientist
Noah Petro (NASA/GSFC): Scientist
Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio

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LRO (Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter)

Data Used:
Terra and Aqua/MODIS/Blue Marble: Next Generation also referred to as: BMNG
The Blue Marble data is courtesy of Reto Stockli (NASA/GSFC).
LRO/LOLA/Digital Elevation Map also referred to as: DEM
JPL DE421 also referred to as: DE421
Ephemeris - NASA/JPL
LRO/LROC/WAC 643nm High Sun Global Mosaic
Note: While we identify the data sets used in these visualizations, we do not store any further details nor the data sets themselves on our site.

This item is part of these series:
Narrated Movies
The Moon
LRO - Animations

Goddard TV Tape:
G2015-026 -- Shadow of the Moon

SVS >> Moon
SVS >> Solar Eclipse
SVS >> Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter
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