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08/29/2017 – Ephemeris – My excellent eclipse adventure

August 29, 2017 1 comment

Ephemeris for Tuesday, August 29th. The Sun will rise at 7:01. It’ll be up for 13 hours and 22 minutes, setting at 8:23. The Moon, at first quarter today, will set at 12:56 tomorrow morning.

This is the first program I’ve recorded since viewing the total solar eclipse 8 days ago. My daughter, youngest granddaughter and I ended up at the Howard County Fairgrounds just outside Fayette, Missouri at an event run by the University of Missouri Extension Service. There wasn’t a big crowd there and the travel there was pretty clear, since it was in the early morning. The day started fairly clear, but became cloudy. Telephoto photography was out, but I made a video of the time around totality that was quite fascinating showing the Moon’s shadow going over. The inner corona of the Sun was visible at totality.  The story is on this blog here as an Ephemeris Extra posting for last Thursday, including the videos. Friday I’ll tell where you can learn more.

The times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

 

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Ephemeris Extra: My report of the total solar eclipse August 21, 2017

August 24, 2017 1 comment

In planning for this eclipse may main goal was to keep away from crowds and traffic as much as possible.  I originally wanted to stay in Springfield, IL so I could go west or south.  Earlier in the previous week I talked with the University of Missouri Extension service, and offered my services, so I felt kind of was obligated if the weather was half way decent. They were set up at the Howard County Fairgrounds in Fayette, MO.  It turned out that I couldn’t get a room in Springfield, but could 60 miles north in Bloomington.  One of the enticements to placate my granddaughter about the trip, was to visit some Lincoln sites in Springfield, which we did on Sunday the 20th.  On Saturday and Sunday the 19th & 20th the weather forecast for Fayette looked bad with clouds and rain in the afternoon.  So I made plans and checked routes in the direction of Paducah, KY.

Traffic heading south on I-55

Traffic heading south on I-55 by Springfield. Photo by Stephany Farrell.

I decided, after seeing the traffic heading down to south Illinois on I-55, that if the weather forecast improved for Fayette, MO I’d head there instead. By 11 p.m. the forecast for Fayette improved markedly. It was for partly cloudy skies, and the rain forecast for the afternoon was moved to Tuesday.

We headed out from our Bloomington, IL motel at 3 a.m. The sun came out just before we entered Missouri. The sky was mostly clear with cirrus and some stratus clouds, mostly in the south and west. There was no unusual traffic all the way there.

We were the first to arrive at 8 a.m. About a half hour later we were joined by folks in two cars from Ottumwa, IA. We all stuck pretty much together for the day, away from the building where most of the people, and entertainment was. All in all there were no more than a hundred people there.

Clouds

Beautiful, but not so friendly clouds. Photo by Stephany Farrell.

Definitely unfriendly clouds

Definitely unfriendly clouds. Photo by Stephany Farrell.

As first contact approached it got progressively cloudier. After first contact I went over to the big shed where the entertainment was and some vendors, and gave a short talk on what to expect as totality approached.  We had a $5 hamburger lunch provided by the Howard County Cattlemen’s Association. And bought $10 eclipse T-shirts. For the most part the Sun was visible through the clouds, if hazily. After first contact the skies worsened, eventually losing the Sun at one point, but then the Sun’s image improved, and continually so up to 4th contact. At totality the Sun’s inner corona was visible, but nothing beyond that. So my grand photographic plans were for naught.

However my little action camera recorded the sky for a 45 minutes or so around the time of totality. And with playing it back yesterday, found that it recorded the Moon’s shadow going over very well. From it I’ve created 2 videos, one showing totality in real time, the other a time lapse 2 minute video of 20 minutes centered on totality, in which the shadow of the Moon can be seen passing over us, darkening the translucent clouds from west to east.

I gave my granddaughter, Bernadette (Bea) the job of recording the temperatures as the eclipse progressed.  Here is a chart made from her data:

Bea's temperature chart

Bea’s temperature chart. From data taken by Bernadette Farrell.

The high temperature going in was 94.7 degrees, and the lowest was 78.2 degrees just after totality ended.  It was stinking hot going in.  But around totality there was a cool breeze coming from the southwest.  It was refreshing.

I was going to spend more time soaking up the ambiance of the surreal world of totality this time, instead of staring at the Sun and sky. Well, I got it.

My videos of the eclipse are here:  http://ephemeris.bjmoler.org/EclipseVideos_08-21-17.html.

The eclipse crew

The eclipse crew: Left to Right – Bob, Bea and Stef.

 

 

08/22/2017 – Ephemeris – Future Eclipses visible around northern Michigan

August 22, 2017 Comments off

Ephemeris for Tuesday, August 22nd. The Sun rises at 6:53. It’ll be up for 13 hours and 42 minutes, setting at 8:36. The Moon, 1 day past new, will set at 9:17 this evening. | OK, now that some of you have eclipse fever and want to see more, let’s see when the next solar eclipses will occur near us. Four years from now on June 10, 2021 the Sun will rise already in eclipse for us here. This annular eclipse will best be seen in western Ontario Provence, just north of Minnesota. The Moon will be too small to completely cover the Sun. After that is another Great American Eclipse, where the path of totality runs from Texas to Maine, clipping a few miles into the southeast corner of Michigan. That will be April 8, 2024. Around here nearly 87% of the Sun will be covered at maximum. If you want to travel, there are two total eclipses in Chile and Argentina on July 2nd, 2019 near sunset and December 14th, 2020 at midday.

The times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

June 10, 2021 Annular Eclipse track.

June 10, 2021 Annular Solar Eclipse track. Credit NASA/GSFC – Fred Espanek

April 8, 2014 Total Solar Eclipse track.

April 8, 2014 Total Solar Eclipse track. Credit NASA/GSFC – Fred Espanek

08/21/2017 – Ephemeris – Today’s the day of the solar eclipse!

August 21, 2017 1 comment

Ephemeris for Monday, August 21st. The Sun rises at 6:52. It’ll be up for 13 hours and 45 minutes, setting at 8:37. The Moon is new today, and won’t be visible, except when it’s covering the Sun.

This is it! Later today, we will see, clouds willing, the Great American Solar Eclipse. The Grand Traverse Astronomical Society and the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore will host an eclipse watch at the Dachow farm on M-22 at Port Oneida Road. There will be telescopes to view the eclipse and one to project the eclipse on a screen. The first 100 or so visitors can get a pair of eclipse glasses. The times, if you are in the Grand Traverse area, say near Traverse City and Interlochen, are these: The eclipse starts at a couple of minutes before 1 p.m., The maximum eclipse will be at 2:20 when nearly 75% of the Sun will be covered by the Moon. The eclipse will end about 3:40 p.m. These times are within a few minutes for other locations in northern Michigan.

The times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Maximum eclipse in Traverse City

What the maximum eclipse would look like with proper filtering in the Grand Traverse area. Created using Stellarium.

Pinhole projection

Pinhole projection is the simplest way to project the Sun’s image.
A long box can be used to project the image inside. The diameter of the pin hole is a compromise between sharpness and brightness of the image.
The farther the image is projected the larger it is.
The throw of the image can be increased by using a mirror masked with a quarter of a inch or larger hole and sending the image 10 or more feet away.

Binocular projection

I’m demonstrating using binoculars to project the Sun. Photo by Bea Farrell (granddaughter).

Tree provided pinholes

Let nature provide the pinholes.
Sit under in the shade.
Stay cool,
And watch the Sun’s images on the ground.

The danger at looking at the Sun without proper filter

The danger with looking at the Sun without proper filter. Credit: University of Waterloo.

08/18/2017 – Ephemeris – More eclipse information

August 18, 2017 1 comment

Ephemeris for Friday, August 18th. The Sun rises at 6:48. It’ll be up for 13 hours and 53 minutes, setting at 8:42. The Moon, 3 days before new, will rise at 4:16 tomorrow morning.

OK here you are 3 days before the solar eclipse, where to you go and when do you look to see it. Circle next Monday, August 21st. The times, if you are in the Grand Traverse area, say near Traverse City and Interlochen, are these: The eclipse starts at a couple of minutes before 1 p.m., The maximum eclipse will be at 2:20 when nearly 75% of the Sun will be covered by the Moon. The eclipse will end about 3:40 p.m. For locations south and west of Traverse City the eclipse will start up to a few minutes earlier, to the north and east, up to a few minutes later. The Grand Traverse Astronomical Society and the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore will host an eclipse watch at the Dachow farm on M-22 at Port Oneida Road.

We’ll be at Friday night Live night on the 200 block of Front Street, in front of Orvis Streamside,  in Traverse City to demonstrate these methods. Come between 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. for demonstrations if it’s clear.

The times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Maximum eclipse in Traverse City

What the maximum eclipse would look like with proper filtering in the Grand Traverse area. Created using Stellarium.

08/17/2017 – Ephemeris – How do you view the solar eclipse if you don’t have eclipse glasses?

August 17, 2017 1 comment

Ephemeris for Thursday, August 17th. The Sun rises at 6:47. It’ll be up for 13 hours and 56 minutes, setting at 8:44. The Moon, 3 days past last quarter, will rise at 3:13 tomorrow morning.

OK here you are 4 days before the solar eclipse and you can’t find any eclipse glasses. What do you do? The answer is project the Sun’s image. I personally do not use eclipse glasses. The projected image is bigger and I don’t get a crick in my neck.   The Sun is bright enough to project itself on a screen. A telescope with a low power eyepiece or one side of a pair of binoculars project a wonderful image of the Sun. An envelope with a quarter to half-inch hole holding a mirror, can project the Sun on the side of a building some feet away. If worst come to worst take a colander, and use the holes to project a multitude of Suns. We’ll be at Friday Night Live tomorrow on Front Street in Traverse City to demonstrate these methods. Come between 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. for demonstrations if it’s clear.

The times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Two pinhole solar projection methods

Two pinhole solar projection methods. Credit NASA.

Binocular projection

I’m demonstrating using binoculars to project the Sun. The lens cap is on the unused side.  The shade in front creates a shadow to project the Sun in.  Be careful to not let anyone attempt to look through the projection side.  A kid tried to do it when I was demonstrating the technique at the last Sun ‘n Star Party. I had to push him away before he was able to look. Photo by Bea Farrell (granddaughter).

 

08/15/2017 – Ephemeris – Looking for safe eclipse glasses? Good luck.

August 15, 2017 1 comment

Ephemeris for Tuesday, August 15th. The Sun rises at 6:45. It’ll be up for 14 hours and 2 minutes, setting at 8:47. The Moon, 1 day past last quarter, will rise at 1:28 tomorrow morning.

Only six days before the big solar eclipse event. Are you ready. If you decide to project the Sun’s image, good for you. I’ll talk about that method on Thursday. However if you want to view the eclipse with eclipse glasses and you haven’t gotten them yet, beware there are fake eclipse glasses out there. The is a list of reputable manufacturers and chains that sell them at the American Astronomical Society website at aas.org. Chains that are supposed to sell the genuine article are 7-Eleven, Best Buy, Lowe’s, Toys “R” Us, and Wal-Mart. Not all stores carry them, or have them in stock. Locally Enerdyne in Suttons Bay does carry them, but again could be sold out. Call first. Around the Grand Traverse Area the eclipse will be visible from 1 to 3:40 p.m. on the 21st.  On Thursday I’ll explain how to project the Sun safely.  No wonky filters needed.

The times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

News note:  Amazon recalls suspect eclipse glasses

From PBS:  http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/amazon-recalls-potentially-hazardous-solar-eclipse-glasses/

The danger at looking at the Sun without proper filter

The danger with looking at the Sun without proper filter. Credit: University of Waterloo.