Sunday, 8 January 2017

Close to the edge?

There has been some discussion lately amongst eclipse chasers about going to view a total solar eclipse near the edge. In the past, predictive methods have made that a bit of a gamble as the actual edge might fall just a bit off from the predicted values. You don't get a redo if that happens in the wrong way!

Getting an edge view can be of scientific value. Obtaining exact timing information with an exact location is one way to verify the calculations as well as help in determining the size of the solar layers such as the photosphere, chromosphere, and inner most corona. Having a good video, a timing source that is reliable, and a very good GPS is essential for these measurements. This may be of great interest to a few eclipse chasers. For those wanting some details see the following:

For an idea of how much of a difference being inside the path of the umbra shadow, on the edge, or just outside, take a look at the images in Glenn Schneider's web page. Specifically look at the images showing the views towards the eclipse and away from the eclipse. Note the orange color areas, it does appear to be perfectly clear edge to the shadow.

Eventually there will be a movie as well over a 1000 hi-res images were captured looking out the windows of an air craft flying through the shadow.

Views from the edge of the path are dramatic as well as potentially useful. A prolonged diamond ring. However they are quickly finished as the photosphere of the Sun brightens the sky quickly.

In my own opinion, eclipses are short enough. Go for the central part of the path where it will be longer. This helps if there are some clouds -gives them a chance to move along. And if you end up just outside of the path of totality it is not nearly as impressive as being inside. It would be a pity to just miss.

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