Sunday, 9 September 2018

Google does it again!

Google maps changed flavor, again. And they dropped support for the version employed by the eclipse-chasers site. So I spent a few hours and rewrote all that code.

Let me know if you find anything odd, out of place, missing, or that is in error.

In the mean time I am seeking a replacement tool for the maps....

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Eclipse 2019 Planning

Recently I have gotten several emails asking about different expeditions to see the July 2019 total solar eclipse. The eclipse crosses Chile and Argentina during the "winter" or cold months. Several expeditions are scheduled to be at various points along the central path. A list of the tours I know of can be found at: https://www.eclipse-chasers.com/php/tseNext.php?TSE=tse2019d

And there are some other options such as viewing from a ship (where I will be) or from an aircraft. The aircraft option offers the best option for a sure thing in terms of seeing the eclipse. The ship is second and then the land expeditions. Of course, climate is what you expect, weather is what you get. Aircraft could have take off issues, ships could be near storms, and land options delayed - one never knows until the day or week of the eclipse.

Now, many of the tour companies listed are not known by myself. I have not traveled with them in the past and thus cannot really comment on how good or bad they might be at this sort of thing. In most cases I do know the expert leading the group and can recommend that they know what they are doing and will do their best to get a view of the solar eclipse. So please do not ask me what I think about a given company or travel agency. I really don't know them all well enough to say much.


On another front, did you know there will be a solar eclipse conference this summer? It will occur in Belgium, towards the start of August. I will be there doing a couple talks along with some of the leading experts in solar eclipses. I really do find it to be an honor to be included in that group.

Solar eclipse conferences are typically held during years when there will not be a total solar eclipse. On average, an eclipse occurs about every 16-18 months. So it is quite possible to have them skip a year. Recent conferences have taken place in Belgium 2000, England 2004, Los Angeles 2007, New Delhi 2011, and New Mexico 2014. This year we return to Belgium and topics to be discussed will include results from the past eclipse in the USA and planning for the next one (or three).

Check out the web site for details: http://www.sec2018.be

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Eclipse 2019 Planning

Though it might seem early to plan for these things, the reality is that if you have not made plans by now you will find your options limited. While new choices for groups and cruises are still appearing, they are filling fast so get your reservation NOW.

A list of eclipse travel options is presented at the Eclipse-Chasers web site for the 2019 TSE. This list is not a complete list of all options, just the ones I know about.

I am blogging this one though. It was mentioned in a mailing list for eclipse chasers, a 100+ day eclipse cruise out of Japan! Check this out: http://peaceboat.org/english/?menu=82#upcoming

Here is a copy of the message posted by Keiko Chaki of Japan in response to a question about cruises to the longest points of totality:

There is a long voyage from Japan. It is 'Around the world in 104 days' called Peace Boat Cruise. It leaves Yokohama on April 3rd and goes to Asia, Europe, New York, Panama and then the longest eclipse point, Australia and get back to Japan on Aug.1st.   

The website in English above does not have the information of 101st voyage but  you can get more info as follows:

You can find the map and the itinerary in Japanese.

It is only 1.29 million yen, ie, $11,622 USD and up as early discount. Isn't it very reasonable? 
You can cancel for free up to 91 days before departure.
Also it may be possible to join the trip from somewhere on the way such as Panama or Europe. You need some negotiation though and I feel it better to negotiate later because they say the participants who attend fully will be prioritized.

As an FYI, Denise and I will be on the Paul Gauguin cruise for this eclipse. We are looking forward to seeing some old friends and the ship again!


Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Countries in the Log

At the request of several eclipse chasers I added a new field to the database. Now one can add in the nationality (optional) which appears as a little flag next to the chaser in the eclipse summary list. At the end of the summary list, a list of the nations represented is presented.


To add your country, log in to edit your eclipse history. Next select a country (pop up list at bottom of eclipses logged) and save the update. That is all there is to it!

Thus far the entries updated clearly show the international interest in solar eclipses. Due to the fact that the web site is currently only available in English the majority of countries represented are either English speaking or have an educational system where the English language is commonly taught. Even so, there is quite a spread around the world!

Check out the eclipse chasers list!

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Another update to the log program

I have been taking care of a few details here and there in the eclipse log programs. One of them that has bothered me is that the eclipse calculator did not take into account the sunrise and sunset cut off times when calculating cumulative shadow durations. The time between C1 and C4 was always used. Seemed wrong and so I fixed it. Now if the eclipse takes place near sunrise and sunset the time calculation for the accumulated shadow duration is modified.
Degrees above/below horizon shown. Sunset time used to calculate duration of shadow time.


This only makes a difference if you are tracking that number. Keep in mind that I am still not adding flight calculations into the logs and that makes a significant different.

Oh, by the way, I added a new cartoon to the collection related to the following:
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap171007.html

https://www.eclipse-chasers.com/eclipseNuts/index.php?name=eclipseNuts342

Monday, 9 October 2017

Search changes after the eclipse

One of the advantages of being webmaster is that I get to see the results of the web logs that track usage of the domain. In those logs are the search words used to locate the web site by tools such as Yahoo or Google. There are some interesting trends that I'd like to share.

First it is really interesting to see how many searches took place relative to the rest of the month. The rate of hits increased dramatically as the eclipse day came and went. The chart below shows web traffic for the month. It should be noted that I did no promotion, no sales, and just let the search engines do their thing. Even so, our web traffic dominated the server for a few days. So much so that our ISP moved us to a faster computer.



Before the eclipse of August 2017 the majority of searches were for maps and information directly related to the eclipse event. Second came the camera and photography searches. This was to be expected as the eclipse took place over the lower 48 of the USA, the first total solar eclipse to hit this region since 1979. People wanted to know where to go to see the eclipse and how to image it.

The third search was for eclipse chasers in general. I know for a fact a lot these searches were by media personalities and those doing research into various chasers. The queries gave away the media people. They asked questions like "who has seen the most eclipses" and "what is an eclipse chaser".

Immediately after the eclipse the searches changed to finding out more about the eclipse of 2024 which will also hit part of the USA (as well as Mexico and Canada). These searches still continue but with less frequency.

Now we are into October and it seems education is taking over. The searches are more along the lines of "what is an eclipse" and "how eclipses happen". Those sound like assignments from teachers or curious people wondering about what they saw or missed.

I wonder what people will be searching for in the next years to come!


Sunday, 1 October 2017

Getting the details in the log right

A lot of the entries in the eclipse-chasers log are only partially correct. They are missing some key details such as proper elevations and weather reports. If you have a log entry, please go back and check the values for these extra input values.

The input program for the log has been modified. It is now a step by step process to help make sure we get good data input.

To make life even easier, I have added a button to retrieve the elevation from google's map database. This value is accurate to a small degree. That is, I have found it to be satisfactory for our purposes of calculations and logging. If you had a GPS you should use those values, not the google map values.

There has been a bit of confusion regarding the values for totality and time spent under the shadow of the Moon. The first is umbra time while the second is all shadow time (includes partials and annulars). One can be extreme about this and record only the time one spends looking at the corona for totality however it can be argued that spending time in the umbra of the lunar shadow, whether under cloud or not, is still time under the umbra. My recommendation is to record the time you want recorded. If you want total umbra time or total time spent looking at the corona, then enter what makes the most sense to you. The "correctness" of your entry is not being graded, it is all in good fun.

The past month has seen a growth in the number of eclipse chasers logging their results. I thank everyone who contributed ideas and comments, that is what makes this system work! I can't test all the possible outcomes and really appreciate the bug reports and suggestions. More is coming soon!