Countdown: Annular Solar Eclipse Feb. 26, 2017

TV-76 image of March 20, 2015 Solar Eclipse from Norway. J.M.Pasachoff.

After the┬ápenumbral eclipse of the new moon on February 11th, we have an┬áAnnular Solar Eclipse just a half-lunar-cycle later. Unlike the lunar eclipse, this one will need proper filtering to observe naked eye or through scopes.┬áThe eclipse is annular because only the central part of the sun is obscured, leaving a thin ring (annulus) of light around the edge. This happens because the┬ámoon’s orbit brings it closer and further from the earth — so its angular size from earth can vary from 29.4-arc-minutes to 33.5-arc-minutes. The size of the sun hardly varies from 32-arc-minutes due to the small eccentricity of the earth’s orbit. Thus, the moon can appear to be bigger or smaller than the sun according to the circumstances. Continue reading “Countdown: Annular Solar Eclipse Feb. 26, 2017”

Penumbral Lunar Eclipse – Feb. 11, 2017

Some phase of this lunar eclipse is visible from┬ámost of the planet. All phases are┬ávisible in the region from the eastern parts of North and South America┬áto Europe, Africa, and western Asia. The eclipse is “penumbral” because┬áthe moon misses the deepest part of the Earth’s shadows — the “umbra”. This also means it’s easy to miss the initial and later stages as the darkening is not as dramatic and it will lack the color-cast of an eclipse that includes passage through the umbra.

Eclipse map courtesy of Fred Espenak, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, from eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov.

Continue reading “Penumbral Lunar Eclipse – Feb. 11, 2017”