The Hinode satellite, which is in low-Earth orbit, captured these beautiful images of Sunday’s annular or ring eclipse of the sun on Sunday, May 20, 2012.
Hinode is in a low-Earth (about 400 miles, or 600 kilometers above Earth) sun-synchronous polar orbit that permits nearly continuous observations of the sun. Its orbit gave it essentially the same perspective as skywatchers on Earth, according to NASA.
The annular or ring eclipse of Sunday, May 20 was the last solar eclipse in the continental U.S. until 2017. There will be a lunar eclipse in just a couple of weeks, though, visible throughout the Americas. More: Lunar eclipse on the morning of June 4, 2012.
Hinode is jointly managed by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, NASA and the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council in the U.K.
Bottom line: The Hinode satellite captured beautiful images of Sunday’s annular or ring eclipse of the sun.