Category Archives: Solar Observing

Hybrid Solar Eclipse This Sunday Morning, Nov. 3rd – Sunrise (6:42 a.m.) To 8:00 a.m.

Greetings fellow astrophiles!

The weather forecast is, as is often the case, not on our side for this particular event, but those with solar observing equipment may be able to take in a “hybrid” solar eclipse this Sunday morning, November 3rd, from sunrise (6:42 a.m.) to 8:00 a.m.

And don’t forget that we switch our clocks back to Standard Time on Sunday. You’ve an extra hour to get your equipment ready!

The timing and placement of the Moon between ourselves and the Sun will be producing a proper total eclipse only briefly (Sky & Telescope says “seconds” for a perfectly-placed observer) and not near us, but the Sun will rise as a crescent as the New Moon takes a significant chunk out of it. I made a series of still images with Starry Night Pro below to show both how much of the Sun’s disc will be blocked by the black disc of the New Moon and how quickly the entire event will occur (6:42 a.m. being sunrise for Syracuse, NY – the entire event will be done by about 8:00 a.m.).

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The hybrid solar eclipse from Syracuse (images using Starry Night Pro). Click for a larger version.

And what is a “hybrid” solar eclipse anyway? We’re all familiar with the “total eclipse,” where the Moon and Sun have the same (or nearly the same) apparent diameter in the sky – this blocking of the Sun’s surface is what allows us to see the wispy corona that is otherwise washed out by the Sun’s surface brightness. An “annular eclipse” is the lesser cousin of the total eclipse, where the Moon in its orbit is farther away from Earth than it would be in a total eclipse, meaning it appears slightly smaller in the sky – as it no longer has the apparent diameter of the Sun, the Moon does not cover it completely, producing a sharp solar ring. A “partial eclipse” is where the Moon makes a “grazing blow” of the Sun, producing solar crescents (which may be very sharp crescents or may just slide along one side of the Sun, producing rounded PacMan views).

The “hybrid eclipse” is called so because certain places on the Earth’s surface see an annular eclipse, while others see, perhaps only very briefly, a total eclipse. Timing and location are everything, making hybrid eclipses quite rare (the number I’ve seen quoted at a few sites is 5% of all eclipses are hybrid).

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A map of the November 3rd Solar Eclipse. Image from Sky & Telescope.

The Sun will still be plenty bright enough to damage your eyes after sunrise – this will most definitely NOT be one of those eclipses that lets you enjoy a view of the Sun without filters or special optics. Pinhole projectors or a pair of Baader glasses will work just fine. A good how-to page for building your own pinhole solar projector can be found at solar-center.stanford.edu/observe/.

And if the weather does not cooperate Sunday morning, you can always watch the eclipse real-time thanks to the Slooh Community Observatory feed (events.slooh.com).

Several good links on the subject are below. You can be an expert to your very groggy friends on Sunday in less than 15 minutes.

* en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_eclipse_of_November_3,_2013

* earthsky.org/astronomy-essentials/get-ready-hybrid-solar-eclipse-on-november-3

* skyandtelescope.com/observing/home/…Morning-Nov-3rd-229133421.html

* skyandtelescope.com/observing/highlights/227679011.html

* wunderground.com/news/hybrid-eclipse-coming-november-20131029

* washingtonpost.com/national/…ac90802c-3d8f-11e3-b6a9-da62c264f40e_story.html

CNYO Brochure – A Guide For Solar Observing

Greetings fellow astrophiles!

In preparation for upcoming 2013 lecture and observing sessions, we have put together instructional brochures to help introduce the Night Sky to attendees. The third of these, entitled “A Guide For Solar Observing,” addresses our solar observing sessions and is provided below in PDF format. This brochure will be available at our combined lecture/observing sessions, but feel free to bring your own paper copy (or the PDF on a tablet – but have red acetate ready!).

Download: A Guide For Solar Observing (v6)

NOTE: These brochures are made better by your input. If you find a problem, have a question, or have a suggestion (bearing in mind these are being kept to one two-sided piece of paper), please contact CNYO at info@cnyo.org.

NOTE 2: We’d like to thank the great solar photographer Alfred Tan for the use of his solar image in this brochure. For a regular feed of his stellar (pun intended) solar views from Singapore, we encourage you to subscribe to his twitter feed at: twitter.com/yltansg.

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A Guide For Solar Observing

Solar Safety: Read Me First!

“NEVER Look At The Sun Through ANY Eyepiece Without Protection!”

Pre-Observing Observing Tips

“The Sun is a blindingly bright object all by itself – and your observing session has you constantly looking in its direction!”

Sun Cross Section – 697,000 km Radius

“Radiative Zone: 348,000 km thick, energy from the core is passed through as photons (light) – thousands of years for light to pass through it from the core!”

The Solar System To Scale

“The solar diameter in “planets” is listed.”

More Information About The Sun

“The Sun is the reason why we’re here!”

And Just Why Is The Sky Blue?

“At sunrise and sunset, most of the blue light has been scattered by air molecules, so more of the Sun’s longer wavelength light (red and orange) makes it to our eyes (“R”).”

What You’ll Observe On The Sun

“The savvy (or lucky) observer may see a plane (1), a satellite, a planet (“transit” of Venus (2) or Mercury), or the International Space Station (3).”

About The Sun (History & Future)

“The Sun is a spectral type G2V star in the Orion Arm (Orion Spur) of the Milky Way, some 25,000 light years from the Milky Way’s center and, on average, 8 light minutes away from Earth.”

What You’ll See Through Solar Filters

“All other filters work by picking out a single wavelength (shade of one color) from the entire visible spectrum (ROYGBIV – red, orange, etc.), allowing only that color to pass through to your eye.”

Tenth Annual NEAF Solar Star Party (NSSP) Announcement – Direct From Barlow Bob

Greetings fellow astrophiles!

2013february24_nssp_bbdgaEast Coast amateur astronomers have been gearing up for NEAF all Winter long (see our original announcement HERE). One of the special extra NEAF events, now in its 10th year, is the NEAF Solar Star Party (NSSP), featuring several solar-safe scopes, many well-versed solar observers, and hopefully an active solar surface as we approach solarmax.

The host of the NSSP is none other than Barlow Bob (the brightly lit one pictured at right with the author at NEAF 2011), a solar-centric observer who has graced several CNY locations in the past few years both with truly remarkable views of our nearest star and his great knowledge of optics, light properties, and the Sun itself. Provided the skies are at all reasonable, you can be guaranteed of some excellent views of prominences and sunspots.

The official announcement from Barlow Bob is below:

EXPERIENCE THE GOLDEN AGE OF
AMATEUR SOLAR ASTRONOMY

The Rockland Astronomy Club Is Proud To Present

The 2013 Tenth Annual NEAF SOLAR STAR PARTY

APRIL 20 AND 21, 2013

At Rockland Community College – Suffern, New York

NEAF attendees are invited to observe the Sun with attitude in different
wavelengths, through a variety of solar filters and spectroscopes.

Join us, for two days of solar observing at NEAF 2013.

No star party entrance fee, or registration required.

BRING A PIECE OF CLEAR SKY TO SHARE
WITH VENDORS AND FELLOW PHOTON-DEPRIVED
AMATEUR ASTRONOMERS.

For further information, please visit our website:

www.rocklandastronomy.com & neafsolar.com