Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Lunar Eclipse October 2014

Got up early to see the total lunar eclipse expecting clouds and rain. Instead I was rewarded with a nice clear sky, freshly "washed" by hard rain. It was chilly and humid, but the Moon hung brightly in the sky.

My new binoculars, 15x70, saw their first umbra - just the Earth's on the Moon and not from the Moon. Still the view was fantastic. These big eyes will work well for a TSE! Hefty and waterproof (so they say, not going to test it) they are a bit much to hold steady for long. But for quick views they work fine and I do have a tripod adapter.

The Moon moved to an area that I could no longer see it from our front area (trees) and I had to go out in the parking lot (well lit) to see it. The view was great. To the left one could pick out Uranus with the binoculars and I was please to see it appeared in the image linked in hi-res below.

Image of total lunar eclipse 1.8s exposure with Sony 5N on tripod.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Tecumseh and the Eclipse of 1806

I updated the webpage with the story about Tecumseh and the 1806 total solar eclipse. Maps showing that location of the village used by Tecumseh and his brother were not in the central path are now included. The location of the village would have shown a 99% total and while impressive, it does not have the impact of a total solar eclipse.

Eclipses viewed along the edge of the central path are prolonged diamond rings. A 99% eclipse can be full of beads as the Sun shines through valleys and is blocked by mountains. One might also catch a glimpse of the corona on the opposite side of the beads/sliver of sunlight however it is difficult and potentially dangerous.

In 2017 a total solar eclipse will cross the USA. Should your home location be in the 90% or greater range plan to move to the central path for the full eclipse effect. Remember, you will see a 90% and greater partial in the path of totality!

Friday, 26 September 2014

Tossed the frames

The frames interface was giving grief to myself and others, so it has been tossed/removed/deleted in favor for the iPad/tablet interface table style.

All entries to now go to the Map.

I am always open to ideas to improve the webpages. Just let me know what you think.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

2016 Ideas

We have been exploring new ideas for the 2016 TSE since the ball was dropped on the Hawaiian cruise idea. So far a couple of cruises have popped up, all in the Indonesian waters.

I still feel that a cruise ship is the best way to see this particular eclipse. Primarily for the mobility to avoid clouds. Mobility on land is somewhat hampered in many areas. An eclipse in the morning favors the weather as the cooling effect will not have as much influence on cloud formation. Thus there is a good chance those on land will have no problem, but just to make sure, I prefer having the mobility built in to the platform.

Below is a link to the cruise my wife and I will be joining. It is being supported by Sky & Telescope (a popular astronomy themed magazine).

One advantage of doing a cruise is the ability to visit numerous islands and locations without the issues of air travel. Our last visit to Indonesia included tours of many sites. But what we remember the most is waiting at airports since that was a large portion of the time spent. We did see some great things and met lots of wonderful people, but the airports were a hassle, and we imagine it being worse now that security is much bigger issue that it was in 1983.

Links to cruises and other travel options for the 2016 Total Solar Eclipse can be viewed at the 2016 Eclipse Chaser web site.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Eclipse Season

We are in eclipse season! That means that the nodes of the lunar orbit are in alignment with the Sun. Twice a year this happens and when that alignment is right, we can get a solar eclipse and/or lunar eclipse event.

Such is the case in October. We will have a total lunar eclipse on the 8th and a partial solar eclipse on the 23rd.

The lunar eclipse will be visible in North America (mostly western) in the pre dawn hours. Observers on the eastern coast will see the Moon set while the eclipse is still underway. Observers on the western coast see the entire eclipse event before sunrise.

The partial solar eclipse will be visible in North America as well, weather permitting of course.

The eclipse season is not always in October. The precession of the nodes causes it to slip slightly in the calendar. The nodes are moving westward and complete one revolution every 18.6 years. In the next years there will be eclipses in March and September shifting to February and August.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Science club projects

I used to be deeply involved in my high school science club (president) and it was always fun to come up with projects that involved real science data collection. Solar eclipses present several experiments that can be done on modest budgets and/or in conjunction with local weather experts and astronomy associations.

Just for fun, here is one such idea.

Solar energy experiment

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

No Hawaiian Sailing for 2016

What a bummer. The ship plan to sail out of Hawaii to intercept the 2016 TSE has fallen through. There were just not enough people willing to sign up that far in advance. In all fairness, it was quite a gamble. The Pride of America is a big ship and holds lots of people. NCL was kind enough to give it a chance, but it just didn't materialize. The goal was to have half the ship booked by the beginning of the calendar year and that just does not seem possible.

So keep you eyes out for other opportunities. The waters south of Midway Island present the best chances for a clear view of the eclipse from a cruise ship. Problem is, very few ships sail that route.

The next best chances for eclipse chasers will near the start of the path on land. Let me know if you have a tour group or plans in place. Over 300 signed on for the cruise ship before it was given up, there is interest!

There are other options, just not from Hawaii. See Solar Eclipse 2016 detail page for listing.