Circumstances for a Solar Eclipse


   Friday July 13th and Saturday the 14th circumstances are such that there will be a partial solar eclipse that will be best viewed from along the northern coast of Antarctica. (hey! every Antarctic coast is a northern coast!!
Specifically the partial solar eclipse will be visible at around 129o E near the Claire Coast.

   Circumstances for a solar eclipse, like for a lunar eclipse, require the Moon to be at either its ascending node or its descending node and be at or close to either new or full Moon phase. A node crossing occurs when the Moon with an orbit tilted 6o from the ecliptic (the Earth’s orbit) intersects the ecliptic.


   The Moon has an elliptically shaped orbit so if the timing for lunar apogee (furthest from Earth) or perigee (closest to the Earth) happens around a new Moon at a node crossing then the apparent size of the Moon will be anywhere from smaller to larger than the Sun’s apparent size. Smaller means a longer eclipse including the length of totality.


   
   
   However the bottom line is the timing between the node crossing and new Moon. This time the Moon crosses the ecliptic moving north, ascending node, approximately 24 hours after new Moon phase setting up a partial solar eclipse.

So what are the circumstances?
Times are in Universal Time (CDT = UT-5)
   July 13th
   1:48 UT – Partial Solar Eclipse Begins
   2:48 UT – New Moon — Partial Solar Eclipse
   3:01 UT – Mid-Eclipse (maximum Sun covered)
   4:13 UT – Partial Solar Eclipse Ends
   8:27 UT – Moon at Perigee – 357, 432 km (222,098 miles)
   July 14th
   2:52 UT – Moon at Ascending Node

   
   
   

Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for monthly observing information, or here to return to bobs-spaces.


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New Moon + Node Crossing + Apogee = Solar Eclipse

solar-eclipse-ani    Sunday morning September 13th the Moon, at new Moon phase, will pass between the Earth and the Sun setting up a partial solar eclipse that will be visible from southern Africa toward and then across the Antarctic continent. As with all eclipses the amount and duration of an eclipse is all a matter of timing. The closer the time for the new Moon phase (September 13th 6:41 UT) is to the time of a node crossing (September 14th 4:38 UT) the more centered the Moon will be on the Sun or centered within the Earth’s shadow for a lunar eclipse. The further apart these two times are then the eclipse will probably be a partial eclipse as is the situation for this one. This partial solar eclipse also occurs close to the time for lunar apogee (September 14th 11 UT), the furthest the Moon is from the Earth for that particular orbit.
    Use the this link to Hermit Eclipse web site for additional information about viewing the eclipse. Or check the time of your local sunset and then use the online eclipse-time calculator from NASA to find the timing of the eclipse for your location. Alternately use the Eclipse Calculator at the Time and Date web site.

aug17-ascending-node    On Monday September 14th at 4:38 UT (September 13th at 11:38 pm CDT) our Moon will be crossing the plane of the ecliptic moving north relative to the ecliptic. This is known as the ascending node, one of two intersections the Moon’s orbital path has with the ecliptic. The ecliptic is actually the Earth’s orbit and the Moon’s orbit is inclined about 6o from the ecliptic. So there are two node intersections, the ascending and descending nodes.

sep14-apogee-moon   The Moon reaches apogee, (greatest distance from Earth), this month on Monday September 14th. At that time the Moon will more or less be at a distance of 31.86 Earth diameters (406,464 km or 252,565 miles) from the Earth.
   Does our Moon actually go around the Earth as this graphic shows? From our perspective on the Earth the Moon appears to circle around the Earth. However, in reality, the Moon orbits the Sun together with the Earth*

*Click here to read my 2006 Scope on the Sky column “The Real Shape of the Moon’s Orbit”. (PDF)

Read this very informative article about the Earth-Moon system and their orbital motions, written by Joe Hanson. “Do We Orbit the Moon?”

   
   
   
   
Caution: Objects viewed with an optical aid are further than they appear.
Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information for this month.

Eclipse Countdown!

   Tomorrow, Thursday October 23rd, there will be a solar eclipse visible across much of North america including the continental United States. For the U.S. the eclipse starts during mid to late afternoon and is in progress at sunset. The further west the higher above the horizon will be the Sun and Moon and much if not all of the eclipse will be seen. From Kansas City Missouri the eclipse will reach a maximum of about 50% and will be setting during mid-eclipse.
   Check the time of your local sunset and then use the online eclipse-time calculator from NASA to find the timing of the eclipse for your location.
solar-eclipse-ani   Alternately use the Eclipse Calculator at the Time and Date web site. Click here to see the times for Kansas City, MO – or to enter the name of your city.
   What will add to the eclipse viewing is the extremely large sunspot that should still be visible tomorrow during the time of the eclipse. I’ve been observing this sunspot since it appeared several days ago. And the large sunspot has been really interesting. I know that the Sun rotates but watching how much this large sunspot has moved in over the last few days is pretty cool. Today the sunspot look liked it was starting to break apart.

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Caution: Objects viewed with an optical aid are further than they appear.
   Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information for this month.

October Moon at Ascending Node = Partial Solar Eclipse

23oct-ascending-node   On Thursday October 23rd our Moon will be crossing the plane of the ecliptic moving north. This is known as the ascending node, one of two intersections the Moon’s orbital path (dark green line) has with the ecliptic.
At about the time of the node crossing the new Moon will pass between the Earth and the Sun, causing a partial solar eclipse that will be visible during the late afternoon hours across much of the continental United States. The eclipse path will start off the coast of eastern Siberia, follow an eastward path across parts of Canada, and then travel south across the United States. Since the eclipse will happen in the afternoon in the time zones across the United States, it may be in progress as the Sun sets for some locations. So check the time of your local sunset and then use the online eclipse-time calculator from NASA to find the timing of the eclipse for your location.
solar-eclipse-ani   Alternately use the Eclipse Calculator at the Time and Date web site. Click here to see the times for Kansas City, MO – or to enter the name of your city.

Sun Not in Scorpio (aka Scorpius) Today

Click on graphic to see it full size.

Click on graphic to see it full size.

Coincidentally according to the pseudoscience of astrology on 23 October the Sun should be crossing the western boundary of Scorpio as it “enters” that constellation. In reality the Sun is still within the constellation of Virgo the Maiden.

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Caution: Objects viewed with an optical aid are further than they appear.
Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information for this month.