Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Eclipse and Astronomy Cartoons

Many of the cartoons shown at the SEC2014 are now online at:

These cartoons cover a variety of topics related to eclipse chasing. Some poke fun at eclipse chasers, others at the situations we find ourselves in, and others at the poorly informed who wonder about the eclipse in a casual way.

If you have ideas for eclipse cartoons, a funny story to relate, or a special request - drop me a line or response to this blog and let me know.

Friday, 7 November 2014


We had a lot of fun at the Solar Eclipse Conference (SEC2014) in New Mexico, USA. The Sacramento Peak Observatory opened their doors to us for a two day pre-conference and to observe the partial solar eclipse. Very clear sky up on the mountain and great presentations made for the perfect venue to kick off the eclipse conference.
Sacramento Peak National Solar Observatory, partial solar eclipse watching!

The last two days of the conference were in Cloudcroft NM, a resort town near Sacramento Peak. More presentations and discussion took place highlighting current trends in eclipse photography, various projects underway, solar science, and planning for the next eclipses.

The web pages for the conference are being actively updated to include presentation materials such as powerpoint and pdf files from the various presenters. The on going support is appreciated!


Also, keep an eye out! Soon the SEC2018 details will begin to appear.

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 www.eclipse-chasers.com 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

What is Eclipse Season?

What is Eclipse Season?

Eclipse season 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 depending on when the full or new moon phase takes place relative to the nodal alignment.

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.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

iPhone interface corrected

The iPhone web interface has been corrected and updated. Summary maps were missing pins to mark observer locations and that is now working correctly. I created the iPhone version of the web page due to the smaller screen size. One could not possibly display all the content available and make it readable!

Another update is to the file uploading. There was an error that slipped through initial testing and was discovered thanks to a report from a reader. After fixing the problem, new cartoons have been uploaded to the cartoons gallery.

Galleries for collections are now displayed in chronological order with the first added at the bottom of the list. Eclipse submissions continue to be in random order.

More updates as they come along. Let me know if you spot any other problems.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Kids and Eclipses

The upcoming 2017 TSE has generated a bit of interest in the teaching industry. Those directly involved in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) education are putting plans together through various resources such as the IAU, AAS, and ASP. Teachers are looking at different aspects of the eclipse such as safety, educational opportunities, observations, and projects. Because the eclipse occurs in August, most students will not be in school at the time. That will further complicate education as classroom activities will have to take place before the end of the school year to prepare the students.

Of course, nothing beats actual experience. We have taken our younger children to solar eclipses and can tell you, no amount of education will really prepare them to see what you see. The eyes of a child are very different. To help illustrate that fact, cartoons, all based on real world experience.

More to come...

Monday, 18 August 2014

Bigger map with city search option

Back by popular request, the BIG map version (nearly full screen) showing eclipse path and quick calculation details. You can enter the name of a city and it will attempt to locate the position, filling in the lat/lon with a quick result displayed.

The default eclipse for the big calculator display is August 2017. Direct link is:

Monday, 28 July 2014

Still testing, it never ends!

I am continuing to update the www.eclipse-chasers.com webpages based on feedback from readers and by studying the access logs. Many thanks to those readers that contacted me directly regarding issues they were having. It helps to have many eyes look over the programming and development.

Because the folder (directory) structure was modified at the server level, many of the search engines need to be corrected. To assist in that regard I added 301 redirects to the old names with an automatic redirection to the newer page. When a search engine invokes a very old page, the main home is displayed instead.

Over the past few days various search engines have been exploring the site. I would like to think they are relinking references. This should allow eclipse-chasers to remain in the listings of the various search tools.

Once the engines stop their aggressive slurping of the site I will add a search option to the main menu so that you can find things easier. An earlier experiment with a search tool from Google resulted in it finding older links and causing problems.

I can assure you, this website isn't finished yet. All ideas and feedback are welcomed.

Monday, 21 July 2014

New Interface up and running

The web site, www.eclipse-chasers.com, has recently had a major face lift. There are now three primary menu interfaces. One for desk and lap top computers. One for tablets (no frames). And a third just for the iPhone.

The iPad and iPhone machines are automatically detected and the appropriate menu will come up. If you are using another tablet or phone, you may have to initiate the interface to get away from the large screen version. Let me know what kind of browser and device you are using if you think it needs to be automatic.

Eclipse Chasers logo by Melissa

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Test site operating

The test site is up and running at:

Soon it will be both www.eclipse-chasers.com and www.eclipsechasers.com, for now, the dashed URL will take you to the older interface. Note that changes made to your log may not get carried over when the final blend is made. Please make new entries in the newer system.

Let me know of any issues or bad links!
-Webmaster Bill

Monday, 7 July 2014

New Look for web site

I have been cleaning up the website and will soon be revealing a new look. Some direct links may not work. Using the server, I hope to redirect the most popular ones so that normal surfing is not interrupted and dead links don't fill up the search engines. Let me know if you encounter a problem.

The new look will allow for a more friendly tablet interface and printable pages.

-www.eclipse-chasers.com webmaster Bill

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Lunar Eclipse coming soon

During the early morning hours of April 15th, there will be a total lunar eclipse. You can figure out what time to look using the following link to an online calculator:

Total lunar eclipses are great opportunities for a star party. This one will be in the early hours of the 15th (the night of the 14th). So if you happen to be working on your taxes that night, you might want to take a break and step outside to enjoy a tax-free view of the Moon in eclipse.

Friday, 31 January 2014

More 2016 Solar Eclipse planning

The total solar eclipse in 2016 is best observed from a moving platform such as a cruise ship. Land based observations will be hampered by travel requirements and the climate which indicates a high potential for clouds on eclipse morning (the only major land fall for this eclipse is near the start of the path).

I am going to be on board the Pride of America, chartered exclusively to see this eclipse. The Pride of America is a Norwegian Cruise Lines ship that normally does week long cruises around the Hawaiian Islands. Due to the proximity of the islands to the eclipse path this is an excellent choice. Details can be found at http://www.eclipse-chasers.com/tse2016/PrideOfAmerica.html

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Eclipse 2016 Planning

Anyone who has studied the path of TSE2016 knows there are challenges to viewing it. Land based observations are very limited and fall in difficult to reach areas of Indonesia. (See Eclipse March 2016 information)

A few months ago I learned about a possible charter cruise out of Hawaii for the eclipse and contacted the organizers. They were attempting to gain the charter but were running into difficulties with the cruise line and getting corporate advertising support. At first it appeared they had given up on the concept but then later I was contacted that they were going to give it a try. They need to book as many cabins as possible at this time to achieve the charter.

If you are seriously thinking about the best option in getting to this eclipse, consider the cruise presented at Berman Astronomy Tours and send in a deposit soonest to secure your cabin. I will be there.

No Total Solar Eclipse in 2014, but …

There isn't a total solar eclipse this year, but there is something special going on. The Solar Eclipse Conference (SEC) will take place in New Mexico. It is scheduled to coincide with a partial solar eclipse that will be visible in the area two days before the main conference takes place.

Details about the conference can be found at http://www.eclipse-chasers.com/SEC2014.html

Participants in the SEC will be treated to a series of lectures and social gatherings, all focused on solar eclipses. Lectures range from the deeply scientific to exotic travel to the latest trends in eclipse mapping, education, and planning.

I will be there! Hope to see you there too.