The Sun was briefly slashed in half diagonally when Earth’s atmosphere hid it from the view of NASA’s SDO spacecraft on April 1, 2011. (No foolin’!)
SDO is currently in an orbit that puts the Earth between it and the Sun momentarily each day. When this happens, SDO’s view is blocked completely for several minutes but sometimes the image it captures contains a look through our planet’s hazy limb as our planet passes into or out of the frame.
The blurriness is an effect of Earth’s upper atmosphere.
This alignment of SDO, Earth and the Sun won’t be happening for long…in fact we may have witnessed the last such “eclipse” of the season earlier today! A similar image, taken on March 29, was recently featured on a National Geographic Space Pictures This Week blog post.
See more images from SDO on the mission site here.
Image courtesy of NASA/SDO and the AIA, EVE, and HMI science teams.