Nasa's Solar Dynamics Observatory Pictures Lunar Transit In Amazing Detail (PICTURES)

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Nasa's Solar Dynamics Observatory is a telescope about the size of a truck which is in orbit around the Earth, 22,000 miles above the planet.

Pointed directly at the Sun, its 10 year mission is to observe our star, and help us learn about its weather, its composition and its life cycle.

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Above: SDO's view of a Lunar transit.

And also to take really, really beautiful pictures.

The latest stunning images captured the moment that the Moon and Earth pass in front of the SDO, relative to Earth:

Nasa says that twice a year for about three weeks the Earth blocks its view of the Sun once a day. The Moon also blocks its view occasionally, giving it a chance to take some unique photographs.

The new pictures show an Earth transit on 11 March and a Lunar transit later that day.

SDO Transit
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Nasa explains:

"When Earth blocks the sun, the boundaries of Earth’s shadow appear fuzzy, since SDO can see some light from the sun coming through Earth’s atmosphere. The line of Earth appears almost straight, since Earth -- from SDO’s point of view -- is so large compared to the sun.

The eclipse caused by the moon looks far different. Since the moon has no atmosphere, its curved shape can be seen clearly, and the line of its shadow is crisp and clean."