Sun Partly Disappears in Scary Photo, No Joke

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I know it’s April Fools, and that claiming half the sun just disappeared sounds a little ridiculous, but we’re not kidding: Half the sun just disappeared. Really!

It happened Tuesday, during a partial eclipse (caused by us–you know, the Earth) and a NASA satellite in high orbit managed to snap it in action. That’s the shot up top, with…okay, not quite half, but at least one-third of its fiery nuclear mass missing in action.

Note how gorgeous the colors are, almost like a backlit blood orange. I’m not sure if that’s symptomatic of the eclipse, or NASA’s just gifted with cameras. Either way, it sure is pretty.

So, you’re probably wondering why the eclipse line isn’t evenly rounded. Not a Photoshop trick (we swear), just the alternating layers of the Earth’s atmosphere obscuring the sunlight unevenly.

Did I say the satellite was in “high orbit?” Try 22,000 miles above the  sea level (give or take). NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory did the honors, and has a chance to grab snaps like this twice a year, apparently, when we enter “eclipse season.”

You can view a super-ginormous version of that photo here. I know what you’re thinking: Every time you slather on the Coppertone at the beach, you’re stretching out under that.

Imagine what Mark Twain’s Hank Morgan might have been able to pull off with a photo like this.

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