A December Moon 3 for 1

                              New Phase, Descending Node, and a Solar Eclipse!

   Monday December 14th the new Moon crosses the plane of the ecliptic moving south. This is known as the descending node, one of two intersections the Moon’s orbital path (dark green line) has with the ecliptic. This is an event that happens 2-3 times each month, but when a node crossing happens at new or full Moon phase there will be either a solar eclipse at new Moon or a lunar eclipse at full Moon.
   It’s all about timing, and the closer the node crossing time is to the time for the new or full phase that increases the chances for an eclipse. The time for the descending node crossing is 11:00 UT December 14th and the time for new Moon phase is about 5 hours later at 16:16 UT.

   So we get a total solar eclipse this time around. Hopefully my two camera amigos in Esquel Argentina will get some good pictures. Hint, hint Pablo y Checho!


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.


Also Follow me and other great resources at Feedspot.

Solar Eclipse Follow-Up

   Fearing for massive traffic jams we (wife Susan and granddaughter Keeley) left for Briarcliff Elementary School in North Kansas City around 8 am. Virtually no traffic as we went around the city and went across the Missouri River and river valley on Highway 169 and then up the bluff on the other side to the school. Lightning was to the north and southwest and thunder was rumbling – but the Sun was sort of shining through broken clouds.

   The sky remained partly cloudy as I set up and students were coming outside to practice how to use their eclipse glasses. The sky stayed partly cloudy until about 10 minutes before totality as the leading edge of what would soon be rain approached from the northwest as broken cumulus type clouds.

   Leading up to totality there were two distinct sunspot groups visible as this picture shows. We were fortunate that the sky stayed relatively clear leading up to totality. However the broken clouds started clumping together but the clouds did part several times allowing for us to see totality each time there was a break in the clouds.
   No post totality pictures because within a few seconds after totality ended the last of the broken clouds passed and the sky was completely overcast. As we left the school it was raining. Got home a few minutes before the eclipse ended – skies were partly cloudy – so we had one last look with eclipse glasses.


   A big shout-out to Mrs. Kate Place, her staff and students, at Briarcliff Elementary School for hosting the Eclipse on the Cliff event.
   Click here to see 360o pictures and videos. Be sure to select HD at the highest resolution possible.
   
   
   

   
   
   

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.

August Moon at Ascending Node – and Oh Yeah, A Total Solar Eclipse!

   Monday August 21st the new 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.

   On August 21st the new Moon will be crossing the plane of the ecliptic at 10:34 UT (5:34 am CDT) within the constellation Leo the Lion. 8 hours later, at 18:30 UT (1:30 pm CDT), the Moon will reach new phase. This close timing between the new Moon phase and a node crossing means only one thing – eclipse!!

   My eclipse viewing area will be at an Elementary School in the North Kansas City School District. From that location totality will be approximately 80 seconds. This short video showing totality for 80 seconds, was clipped and edited from a video shot during the November 2012 total solar eclipse viewed from Australia.

Error
This video doesn’t exist

   Read a bit more about this eclipse from a previous post.

      Does our Moon actually go around the Earth as many graphics show? 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?”

   
   
   

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.

Solar Eclipse of August 21


   I too have written some information about the solar eclipse, aka “The Great American Eclipse”, of August 21st. It is my attempt to compare two different views of the eclipse. One will be from within the path of totality where I will be, and the other in my hometown of Lee’s Summit Missouri just south of the path of totality by a few miles. As a result residents in Lee’s Summit, unless they drive north, will only see a partial eclipse with 99.986% of the Sun covered.
   So without further ado click here to go to Eclipsed Thoughts.

   
   
   

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.

Solar Eclipse

eclipse animation   Friday 10 May the new Moon will pass between the Earth and Sun setting up the circumstances for a solar eclipse. However this solar eclipse, is an annular eclipse, the type where at mid-eclipse the Moon does not completely cover the Sun as this animated graphic shows.
total   Most are probably familiar with a total solar eclipse as this graphic shows. The disk of the Moon has completely covered the disk of the Sun blocking out everything except the Sun’s corona. Typically during a total solar eclipse the apparent size of the Moon and Sun are essentially the same or the Moon appears larger than the Sun so that at mid-eclipse the sun is completely covered by the Moon.

   The difference between these two solar eclipses has to do with the shape of the Moon’s orbit. It is elliptical and that means that the Moon is not always the same distance from the Earth were it following a circular orbit. Each month the Moon reaches apogee, the farthest it will be from the Earth that month, and perigee, when the Moon is closest. So, if the new Moon occurs at or near apogee, when the Moon is farthest from the Earth, the Moon will appear smaller than the apparent size of the Sun. And if this also happens when the three, Earth, Moon, Sun, are aligned then we have the settings for an annular solar eclipse.

   The date for this eclipse has some personal meaning to me as did the solar eclipse last year that was also on May 10th so I wrote about the eclipse and something called the Saros Series in a recent Scope on the Skies column. Click here to download a copy of my April-May Scope on the Skies column about the eclipse and the Saros Cycle.

   Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information.

Solar Eclipse Video

   Here is a link to the BBC web site showing the total solar eclipse as seen from Cairns, Queensland, Australia. The video starts just before totality and ends shortly after totality.
   Total Solar Eclipse BBC video.


Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information.

Total Solar Eclipse

   Next Tuesday there will be a total solar eclipse Wednesday at sunrise that will be visible from parts of Australia as the eclipse path tracks across the South Pacific Ocean.
   This is the last solar eclipse for this year and since it is visible from the southern hemisphere and as it crosses the northern coast of Australia and the city of Cairns it will be sunrise on Wednesday November 14th there. The first contact between the Sun and Moon at local Cairn time occurs at around 5:45 am as the Sun is rising. Mid-eclipse is at 6:38 am with approximately 2-minutes of totality. Last contact between the Moon and the Sun will be at 7:40 am.
   I just love time zones!
   Here in the U.S. the eclipse will only be visible via web broadcasts, and will be happening on Tuesday November 13th. From the Central Time Zone the eclipse occurs during mid-afternoon with first contact at 1:45 pm CST, mid-eclipse at 2:38 pm CST, and the end of the eclipse at 3:40 pm.

   Click here to go to the Australian-based web site for viewing and other information about the solar eclipse.

   Here is a software simulation of the 2-hour solar eclipse in 40 seconds showing the Moon and Sun as they pass each other. The Sun and the Moon are both rising in the east and are moving toward the west – due to Earth rotation. While at the same time the Moon is moving along its orbit toward the east.

Error
This video doesn’t exist

Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information.