Total Solar Eclipse across the USA
21 August 2017
21 August 2017
Weird things happen during a Total Solar Eclipse
Rick Boozer : Astro Maven Blog
22 June 2017
Rick Boozer : Astro Maven Blog
22 June 2017
Everyone talks about how visually stunning it is when the darkened Moon fully covers the face of the Sun in a total solar eclipse. And indeed, it is! But there are other unusual, truly strange happenings that occur when the Moon passes in front of the Sun. If you aren't prepared to look for them, some of these weird phenomena are so fleeting that you can miss them. Following are descriptions of a number of those novel occurrences to be looked for on August 21st.
Long before totality (when the Moon is only covering part of the Sun's face), go to a nearby tree and look in the shade of the tree's shadow. You will see hundreds of crescent images of the partially covered Sun all over the ground! In fact, this is a safe way to view all the partial phases of the eclipse without harming your eyes. Where do all these many images come from? The gaps between the tree's leaves act like a pinhole camera by projecting the Sun's image on the ground. Here is a photo that was shot of such a tree shadow during a previous solar eclipse:
(Above image credit and copyright Elisa Israel)
Anywhere from 60 to 90 seconds before totality or just after totality ends, closely look at any flat light-colored or white surfaces around you. You may see a very strange sight. At such times, dark lines called shadow bands may be seen racing back and forth across the surfaces. These shadowy lines are caused by sunlight peeking around mountains and through valleys around the outer rim of the Moon, while turbulence in the air makes them appear to shift position. To see a video of eclipse shadow bands, go here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_XMnU7Ad40
In the minutes before totality, all of your surroundings will appear dimly lit in a very strange and different way from what you experience at sunrise or sunset. Everything will seem somewhat similar to what you see when you wear very dark sunglasses, but with a kind of surreal sheen that can't be described adequately.
As soon as the Moon entirely covers the Sun and causes the sky to completely blacken, the air will instantly chill -- perhaps by as much as 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Animals will become confused. Bats may fly around thinking it is night. Birds may go to roost. Crickets or cicadas may begin to chirp.
If the land is flat for miles around your location, or you are on a mountain top, you will be able to see the darkest part of the Moon's shadow (called the umbra) racing across the ground towards you just before totality and away from you afterwards. Here is video of the approaching and leaving umbra as seen from an airplane: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=InlUONyIpdM.
An instant before the Sun's disk is completely covered by the Moon, you should experience the visually stunning diamond ring effect. The slight bit of Sun remaining will give the impression of a brilliant diamond, with the ring being a faint glow around the darkened Moon. Some images of the diamond ring effect can be seen at this link: : https://sunstopper.wordpress.com/tag/diamond-ring-effect/.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The brief few minutes of totality is the only time it is safe to look directly at the Sun with no eye protection. If you are wearing special eclipse glasses, take them off when the Moon completely covers the Sun. But be sure to put them back on if you continue looking at the sun as soon as totality is finished.
It will become dark as night during totality. The stars will pop out and you will see two very bright points of light near the Sun. They are the planets Venus and Mercury. Most people never get to see Mercury because it is usually so close to the Sun that it is blotted out by the Sun's glare.
Mars and Jupiter will make an appearance. Those two planets will seem to be near the Sun, when in reality they will be much farther away on the far opposite sides of their orbits. In total, 4 of the 5 planets that don't require a telescope can be seen during the eclipse.
Sirius, the Dog Star, will show itself as the very bright star to the southwest of the Sun. In fact Sirius is the second brightest star in our sky after the Sun.
If we are lucky, there will be eruptions from the Sun that cannot be seen at any other time. These eruptions are called prominences and will glow a bright beautiful ruby red color. Go here to see a photo of red prominence eruptions during an eclipse: http://county10.com/will-wildlife-be-fooled-into-bedding-down-for-the-night-during-the-eclipse/.
The bluish white glowing corona (outer atmosphere of the Sun) is made of charged hydrogen atoms; AKA plasma. During totality, the corona allows us to see the beautiful structure of the Sun's powerful magnetic field as the plasma is pulled by magnetism into graceful curving field lines. Check out this gorgeous corona photo: http://www.zam.fme.vutbr.cz/~druck/eclipse/Ecl2013g/TSE_2013wa_ed/0-info.htm.
As pretty as this image is, no photo can capture the almost ethereal fluorescent hue that you will see when looking directly at the corona. Also, notice that you can see red prominences in this image near the bottom of the Sun.
I hope this description of strange eclipse phenomena has piqued your interest and raised your excitement level about the upcoming total solar eclipse. Remember that the Anderson Jockey Lot will have the longest running totality period of any location along the I-85 corridor and U.S. Highway 29. See you there!
For more information contact me (Rick Boozer) by email at email@example.com.
Five amazing Facts About the Total Solar Eclipse
Jake Anderson : The Anti-Media
09 August 2017
Jake Anderson : The Anti-Media
09 August 2017
The countdown to a rare celestial spectacle is on. On August 21st, people within the "path of totality", a 70-mile wide swathe of land stretching from Oregon to South Carolina (14 states in all), will witness a total solar eclipse. The shadow of the moon will start in the Pacific Ocean and travel at Mach 1.5 speeds across the continental U.S., creating an ethereal light show that eclipse hunters swear is unlike any other naturally occurring phenomenon. Eclipse enthusiasts describe the experience as transcendent, even life-changing.
Here are five things to know about the upcoming phenomenon:
1. A total solar eclipse is the result of a remarkable cosmic coincidence.
The incredible serendipity of a total solar eclipse on Earth is difficult to fathom. For the brief few minutes of a totality, the Sun and the Moon occupy the exact same space in our sky, perfectly overlapping one another. How is this possible? While the sun's diameter is 400 times the size of the moon's, the moon is 400 times closer to us. The phenomenon is unlikely to exist for any of the other planets in our solar system and may be fairly unique to the Earth. While other stars and planets assuredly have their own distinct celestial marvels, a total solar eclipse is one of our cosmic home's special treasures.
2. The eclipse offers a rare glimpse of the sun's secret majesty.
The light show that occurs during a total solar eclipse is unlike any other natural phenomenon, which is why scientists flock to and study the event in droves. With a clear sky, a total solar eclipse affords spectators a rare, unfiltered glimpse of the sun's outermost layer, a million-degree halo of plasma that flairs and contorts under the powerful grasp of the magnetosphere. For a few precious minutes our star reveals its ethereal beauty, including "Baily's Beads", prominences, coronal streamers and, if you're lucky, coronal ejections. Baily's Beads create a diamond ring effect that has inspired many paramours to propose marriage during totality (an act that an eclipse enthusiast might have found annoying).
Those not in the path of totality can still study rare shadows cast off of Earth-bound objects, including trees that cast off crescent shapes in the twilight.
3. The total eclipse event, known colloquially as a syzygy, requires the observer to complete the phenomenon.
An alignment of 3 or more celestial bodies is known as a syzygy. In this case, the total solar eclipse includes the sun, the moon and the human observer. Not all of the Earth will rest in the path of totality, so the completion of the trio requires an intentional act
4. The last time there was a total solar eclipse visible only in the United States was in 1776.
The August 21st eclipse is especially rare because it is the first continent-wide eclipse to be viewable only in the United States since the same year the country came into existence. Additionally, it's the first time since 1918 that an eclipse's path of totality stretches unbroken from one coast to the other.
5. In 600 million years, total solar eclipses will no longer occur.
Because tidal friction gradually changes the Moon's proximity to us, total solar eclipses weren't always visible from the Earth and, in the distant future, perfect alignment of our sun and moon will no longer take place.
NASA estimates that around 300 million people will experience the eclipse first-hand, though not everyone will be in the path of totality. The sun's light is so powerful that even those experiencing a 99.9% partial eclipse will not get the full effect.
Eclipses are profound cosmic events that have mesmerized humans throughout history. As early as 1050 B.C., Chinese astronomers recorded them using "oracle bones". In 1918, Sir Arthur Eddington studied a total solar eclipse to prove part of Einstein's general theory of relativity by displaying how gravity bends light.
If you're near the path of totality, you have a rare opportunity to gaze upon what eluded Canadian astronomer and eclipse chaser J.W. Campbell, who spent 50 years trying to experience a total solar eclipse only to see overcast skies 12 different times.
For more information on the best spots to view the eclipse on August 21st, this site breaks down the path of totality.