Nasa's Mind-Blowing Eclipse Picture Is Unique - But Not All It Seems (PICTURES)

This is the most unique - and one of the most beautiful - images of an eclipse you'll ever see.

But if it looks too good to be true, that's because it is. Almost.

The picture - taken and stitched together by Nasa's Goddard Space Flight Center - was not based on images from Earth, or from a single spacecraft, but two separate Nasa missions.

Scientists working with the Solar Dynamics Observatory and the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter were able to match their data perfectly to get this combined result.

The SDO is currently in orbit around the Sun, but has its view obscured twice a year by the Moon travelling across the Solar disc.

Meanwhile the LRO is currently in orbit around the Moon, in a 50 km polar mapping orbit, taking remarkable pictures of its surface.

By combining detailed pictures of an SDO Lunar Transit from October 7, 2010 and pictures of the surface by LRO, Nasa was able to perfectly match and reconstruct the entire eclipse.

Nasa said:

The two images were put together and the overlay was exact. The mountains and valleys on the horizon of the LRO picture fit right into the shadows seen by SDO.

Massive amounts of data and precise calculations had to be used to match the images of the Moon's shadow and its surface, Nasa said.

Above: the image with just the rim of the Moon visible, taken by SDO

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