Tag Archives: Total Eclipse

“Upstate NY Stargazing In September” Article Posted To newyorkupstate.com And syracuse.com

Greetings, fellow astrophiles!

With the summer nearly over and long nights replaced by early school bus mornings, the UNY Stargazing series has returned to its regularly-scheduled monthly publishing.

The latest article in the Upstate NY Stargazing series, “Upstate NY stargazing in September: Cassini’s end and morning planet delights,” has just been posted to newyorkupstate.com and syracuse.com.

Direct Links: newyorkupstate.com and syracuse.com

The Great American Eclipse for 2017 has come and gone without major reported inconvenience to the cities that ended up hosting large groups. This is good news for Western and Upstate New York, as we will be participants in the observation of totality on April 8, 2024 and have to contend with potential crowds on top of whatever weather early April brings that year. In the meantime, if you still have your eclipse glasses, you can give others an opportunity to enjoy upcoming total eclipses in South America and Asia in 2019. Consider donating your glasses to the great outreach organization Astronomers Without Borders – see the link for all the details.

Caption:The tail end of the August 21st eclipse from Nashville, including sunspot group 2671 at center and sunspot 2672, just clipped by the moon. (Photo by John Giroux)

* It is a busy month for amateur astronomy, with Jupiter getting very close to being un-observable until December (so catch those photons now), Cassini about to take a serious plunge into Saturn, and Mercury, Venus, and Mars doing a wonderful dance in the pre-sunrise skies all month. Try to catch the days shown below (and see the article for more details)!

Caption: The prominent planetary groupings in the morning sky this month. (Image made with Stellarium)

* The constellation of the month is Draco – and with just one more circumpolar constellation to go, we’re two months away from explaining just what that means!

CNYO Saw The March 20th Total Eclipse With Barlow Bob Shining Bright

Greetings fellow astrophiles!

It’s almost impossible in today’s super-connected world to not see astronomical events, even when they’re several time zones away. The March 20th total eclipse over the UK and Northern Europe was certainly evidence of that, with video, aerial video, and thousands and thousands of pictures taken (see the gallery on this eclipse’s wikipedia page for a nice summary).

As a fun aside, the visit summary for the last few weeks is shown below, courtesy of our WordPress Jetpack plug-in.


As you can see, we’re usually in the 50’s and 60’s every day (mostly directed from search engines). On March 20th, we spiked like gamma ray burst, reaching 328 visitors. A noticeable bump that returned to normal on the 23rd.


The large number of visitors (219) all seemed to favor a single page – the late, great Barlow Bob’s two articles on the benefits and use of the Sunspotter. I’ve no idea if the Sunspotter is a big hit in Europe or if people were simply searching frantically for anything solar safety and eclipse-related, but the numbers (for the 20th, anyway), don’t lie. It is my suspicion that many a google’er came across one article or another from Barlow Bob in their solar searches, and we’re happy to have a few of his articles hosted here for others to find as the upcoming eclipses occur.


Barlow Bob as captured at NEAF. Image courtesy of stargeezerradio.com.

2015march21_11069934_907214125998103_6014315920335880905_nFrom the “I wouldn’t have ever thought of that” department, and as an even more fun aside, the following image came across my Facebook feed courtesy of Stephen W. Ramsden, the main man behind the great Charlie Bates Solar Astronomy Project. Someone outside of The Feathers Inn in Stocksfield, UK captured the image at right (click the image for a larger view) of the eclipse being projected through a pasta strainer. A capital(-saving) idea!

And to show the importance of search terms to google, the searches for “eclipse strainer” and “eclipse colander” produce some very different results favoring the “eclipse colander” (for the purpose highlighted here, anyway). The UK version of the Huffington Post even featured an article for the March eclipse on their site (Solar Eclipse 2015 Sees The Humble Colander Come Into Its Own).

I think the kids below explain the procedure simply enough. One can only assume that some seriously ornate eclipse observing will happen if the Moon ever finds itself between the Sun and Tuscany.


This all remarks back to a point we cannot stress enough – Solar observing is fun, but definitely not a game! Never-never-never stare directly at the Sun through any kind of magnifying optics! Don’t noodle around if you don’t have proper filters – solar projection is the way to go. Just as Bob Piekiel and Larry Slosberg demonstrate below.

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.).


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).


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