A Czech astrophotographer captured the photo of the day for NASA

Photo: Petr Horálek

The astronomical image of the day for NASA on Sunday was a photograph of Czech origin. The Czech astrophotographer, Petr Horálek, of the Institute of Physics in Opava, was the winner in the prestigious selection of the day’s image for Sunday, December 5.

The picture captured this year’s sole total solar eclipse on Saturday. However, it was only visible from Antarctica. That is why the image was titled “Total Solar Eclipse Below the Bottom of the World.”

To capture this unusual phenomenon, planes had to fly under the clouds over the Southern Ocean. “This is a shot of Czech origin, it shows a view of the total solar eclipse taken from the deck of an aircraft over the Southern Ocean,” explained Horálek, who also reminded that this is the fifth photo taken by the Institute of Physics and chosen by NASA as the Astronomy Picture of the Day.

In the photo’s description, NASA also pointed out a small point just to the right of the so-called corona around the Sun, none other than Mercury, the first planet in our system.

Horálek took part in a particular Chilean Airlines flight in collaboration with astronomers from the International Astronomical Union (IAU) to take the unique photo. One of the expedition’s purposes was to acquire special audiovisual material for the documentary work of the students of Multimedia Techniques at the Institute of Physics in Opava.

The next total solar eclipse will be visible from parts of Australia and Indonesia in April 2023 and a year later from North America.