Eclipse challenge

Eclipse challenge


detectiveSolar eclipses have fascinated people since ancient times and also today many people will gaze up in wonder to witness the spectacle of a solar eclipse. In parts of Russia and Canada one can witness it as an annular eclipse. From Belgium, today’s eclipse will be partial, when the Moon will seemingly take a bite out of the top of the Sun around midday (maximum at 12:19 local time).

The PROBA2 satellite will cross the Moon’s shadow as many as four times during this eclipse and in the images made by the SWAP EUV imager onboard, a large part of the solar disk will be covered for some of these transits. Also the LYRA radiometer will make detailed observations of the event, turning on its least degraded unit for the occasion.

The PROBA2 Science Center team is taking this opportunity to launch an eclipse photo challenge! Here is an image of the solar eclipse taken by SWAP during the eclipse of June 10, 2021.

While it may seem like a regular image, we have hidden some extra information in it. Your task will be to decipher that information and use that to answer the following questions:

  • How many days has the PROBA2 spacecraft been in orbit?
  • How many images had the SWAP imager onboard taken by June 8, 2021?
  • How many eclipses have the instruments onboard PROBA2 witnessed?
  • How many orbits had PROBA2 completed by June 8, 2021?
  • What was the exact time of the launch?
  • How many scientific papers were written so far using the data from SWAP and LYRA?
  • What is the current prediction for PROBA2’s orbital decay (i.e. in how many years will the satellite come down)?
  • What is the weight (kg) of the spacecraft?
  • What is the size (mˆ3) of the spacecraft?
  • What is the average altitude (km) of the spacecraft?
  • How many pixels does a SWAP image have?
  • How many times has the spacecraft passed above one of the ground stations by June 8, 2021?

You are welcome to send your answers to swap_lyra@sidc.be . The first 10 correct responses we receive from the general public will be selected. The winners will be invited for a guided tour of the PROBA2 Science Center and the Observatory, which will take place as soon as the COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted.

Good luck!