The first solar eclipse of 2021 occurred on June 10, as the Moon’s path carried it between the Sun and Earth. Because the Moon was far enough away from Earth that the Moon appeared smaller than the Sun in the sky, the maximum view from Earth showed a dark disc (the Moon) on top of a larger, brighter disc (the Sun). This is known as an annual eclipse, which can look like a bright ring of fire burning around the Moon.
While spectacular, the annular eclipse only occurred along a narrow swath across parts of Canada, Greenland, and northern Russia. Outside of that central path, viewers in parts of the eastern United States, northern Alaska, much of Canada, and parts of the Caribbean, Europe, Asia, and northern Africa were able to see a partial eclipse.
As people on the ground looked up at the sky and saw a ring, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) looked down and saw the Moon’s shadow racing across the Earth’s surface. The MODIS instrument on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this true-color image of the shadow over Sweden and Finland on June 10, as viewers on Earth were witnessing a partial eclipse. Where the Moon passed in front of the Sun, Earth’s surface appeared very dark (bottom part of the image). Around the margins of the shadow, our planet’s surface appeared yellowish brown. The shadow cast by an eclipse consists of two parts, the completely shadowed umbra and the partially shadowed penumbra.
This image is a mosaic, which combines three different swaths of data from the MODIS instrument, each swath collected on a different pass of the satellite as it circled the Earth. Only the central swath captured the eclipse while the swaths to the right and left were captured before and after the eclipse passed over the region.