Thursday, August 17, 2017

Eclipse Corner #18 THE EXPERIENCE OF VIEWING

     Part of the experience of seeing the total solar eclipse is to be in the right place at the right time. With all the information provided from different news areas that seems to be something we can easily plan for because we live in the right place – the totality zone. But the weather can be a changing factor that can still mess up the best picnic plans. And then, if we decide to move, even a short distance, we may have forgotten the impact of our area acquiring so many new visitors who are here to see the eclipse. Could there be traffic problems?
     August is generally a very good month for viewing a solar eclipse across the USA. Climatologists say states east of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers have a heavier average cloud path than Missouri. We will be a nearly constant 50% statistically with the possibility of typical convective clouds forming from the heat in the afternoon. Overcast conditions from weather fronts are at a 20% rate. So, we do have the statistics on our side for a good view, so let us plan on that.
     Viewing the totality is the key to this emotional event. Our response will be uniquely individual. One person’s thrill of a lifetime can be a big yawn to another person. Excitement will mount as totality nears, and it all explodes at the moment the eclipse goes from 99% to 100% totality. This event falsifies our basic understanding that the constant Sun is always up in the day. Being in the shadow of totality for the first time is most powerful and impacting. We may not realize how we will be impacted emotionally.  

     The solar eclipse going into totality gives of lots of things to see. Just before the complete total darkness, remember to look at the Diamond Ring Effect, Bailey’s Beads, and possibly the chromosphere. Completely in the Moon’s shadow, without your Eclipse Glasses, the corona and possibly a prominence can be seen around the black disk in the sky. 

      nasa.gov

     Stars and planets can be seen even near the eclipsed Sun. It is not the dark of night, and looking across the horizon, you can see beyond the shadow into an eerie twilight of orange and yellow.  You will remember the feeling of amazement.
     Anthony F. Aveni, author of several eclipse books, says the totality is a chance to feel the three dimensional nature of the universe. He says it is the same kind of response gained by the news media when they interview someone who has just been through a tornado. We just do not have the correct vocabulary to describe something so extraordinary beyond our normal experience except for the part, “it sounded like a train.” Pictures do not convey the experience.
     There is a group of people who try to go to the next total solar eclipse consistently. After the 2017 eclipse, there may be several US citizens join that group called “eclipse chasers”. Like a hobby, following eclipses becomes their passion and they are off to plan for the next. Whether you will become an eclipse chaser or not, Missouri is in luck, we have another one coming through our state in 2024.                                                                      –Dan Slais

Dan Slais is a retired 8th grade earth science teacher from Waynesville, MO.  He has taught Astronomy and Geology for Columbia College and has worked as a seasonal National Park Ranger for seven seasons.   

Join us August 18-21, 2017 for Midnight at Noon, a four day music festival and eclipse viewing event in Owensville and Rosebud, MO.  For more information click HERE



Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Eclipse Corner #17 MORE KEPLER FACTS

      Kepler’s first law states that planets move in an elliptical orbit, so that the distance between the Sun and Earth is constantly changing as the Earth goes around its orbit.  The earth’s closest point or perihelion occurs in the winter (January 3) and farthest point or aphelion is in the summer (about July 4). For our August 21, 2017, solar eclipse, the Sun is more near the aphelion. Therefore, the shadow is only producing a 70 mile width band as it moves across the US. The shadow width becomes larger as the Sun gets closer and a more winter time eclipse can maximize the shadow up to 166 mile band. 



This picture is exaggerated so that the points discussed can be seen easily.












     Kepler's second law of planetary motion showed that a line between the sun and the planet sweeps equal areas in equal times. Therefore in this picture A = B for a given time. C and D equal the distance traveled within that time. So the speed of the earth in its orbit is not constant. We go faster in the winter at perihelion and slower in the summer at aphelion. The speed of the planet increases as it nears the sun and decreases as it recedes from the sun.  Knowing the exact speed is part of the formula for calculating the duration of totality. There are a few other minor facts that affect the timing, like the Moon is moving away from the Earth at about 1.5 inches per year.  Information like these speeds is used in the math formulas in order to figure out the exact amount of seconds in the duration of totality. Tough math.
     August has a fairly high angle of the sun so that will help our view as the Sun will be lower in the sky in winter. The 1:14 PM puts it high in the sky as well.

     In June, 2017, the Sun had an average of about 16 sunspots as the solar activity is still lessening towards a minimum in 2019. June had 4 spot free days. This means the magnetic solar activity including sunspots, flares, and prominences should be even less in August, 2017. There have been some active occurrences so there are possibilities for seeing these as we view the solar eclipse. The Sunspot cycle peaks every 11 years, but astronomers have rated the current cycle as very weak. Get your Eclipse glasses out early and check the Sun or try spaceweather.com.to check out the status of the Sun. More solar eclipses updates are coming.                                 –Dan Slais

Dan Slais is a retired 8th grade earth science teacher from Waynesville, MO.  He has taught Astronomy and Geology for Columbia College and has worked as a seasonal National Park Ranger for seven seasons. 

Join us August 18-21, 2017 for Midnight at Noon, a four day music festival and eclipse viewing event in Owensville and Rosebud, MO.  For more information click HERE

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Eclipse Corner #16 TIMING AND CULTURAL ASTRONOMY

     The exact times of the starting of the total eclipse or C2 are slightly different for towns in our area. In fact, there is some variance in numbers for exact times. Using the website: http://aa.usno.navy. mil/data/docs/SolarEclipse.php which the Eclipse Corner was using, was giving longer times for totality than the www.stlouiseclipse 2017.org site which is run by the St. Louis Eclipse Task Force.  There are possibilities for errors including the size of any town’s city limits may cover a second.   Calculations for the exact speed of the Earth and the Moon revolution and rotation can cause small discrepancies. The latest eclipse information should have included different elevations on Earth as well as the uneven surface of the Moon. The uneven shape of the Earth as an oblate spheroid enters into the thinking as well.  

eclipse begins  C1-  totality begins C2 -  endsC3            totality duration

Hermann - 11:47:30 AM.    1:14:30 PM. to 1:17:00 PM.            2m 30s          Owensville - 11:47:31 AM  1:14:42 PM. to 1:17:14 PM.            2m 32s         Rosebud - 11:47:42 AM.    1:14:49 PM. to 1:17:26 PM.            2m 37s    Sullivan - 11:48:15 AM.      1:15:31 PM. to 1:18:02 PM.            2m 31s

The eclipse will end near 2:55 PM, C4, for all in the local areas.




Solar Eclipse  Espenak –T01-03 01












     Historically, there are tales or legends of interesting activities taking place or changing during a total solar eclipse. In China, on October 22, 2134 BCE, two Imperial Astrologers, HIS and HO, failed to forecast the solar eclipse and were executed. Their job was prevention of eclipses which was deemed as condemnation of the ruler. Other cultures include Babylonia in 1702 BCE and Egypt 1100 BCE, although the loss of the Library of Alexandria in 390 AD destroyed much history. The Greeks ancient historian Herodotus recorded predicted eclipses in 710 BCE. The Stonehenge is missing evidence of one of the lunar motions which was necessary for eclipse prediction but it has precise marks for others. It was first built in roughly 7500 BC.
     The prediction of an eclipse by the Greek philosopher Thales of Miletus may have used Egyptian technology rather than Greek. The eclipse occurred during a battle  between the Lydians and the Medes who simply lay down their weapons as the sky darkened.  The battle and the 15 year war came to a conclusion. Often called the Battle of the Eclipse, the eclipse worked as a peacemaker in 585 BCE.
     In the new world or western hemisphere , the Mayan culture was probably the foremost of the Mesoamerican cultures. Much of the history of the Mayans was destroyed by the Spanish destroying thousands of their hieroglyphic books. In the Dresden codex   brought back to Europe and interpreted later, showed Mayans astronomers proficiency in about 500 BCE where many of their buildings/cities are oriented by astronomy. Incas and Aztecs may have been in a similar state. The Aztecs have a connection with human sacrifice possibly at the time of eclipses as a time to repay the gods.
     In North America, the Anasazi group of native Americans of the Southwest United States including Chaco Canyon illustrated building according to the directions seen in astronomy. There are no records of Anasazi predictions. The Cahokian history in Illinois shows indications of  following the eclipse predictions, however in a city of dirt hills and wooden “stonehenge” poles setting their calendars, records are hard to find. There are no written manuscripts to help historians gain a good understanding.
     Solar Eclipses were more difficult to predict than Lunar Eclipses because the earth’s shadow is much larger (7,500) miles covering the smaller Moon than the Moon’s shadow (up to 160 miles) covering a larger earth. For ancient cultures, proof of a solar eclipse on the other side of the earth or in a different hemisphere was difficult. However, the mathematics of some of these ancient cultures was remarkable.
     History has fairly accurate records, however, Cultural Astronomers have a more formidable task. Cultural astronomers are more interested in what people believe about celestial happenings than the aspects of the celestial happenings themselves. Finally, as most of North America ends its ninety-nine year drought, we can get back into the meaning of “Midnight at Noon.”    Culturally, it will be fun to see what happens as we participate in minutes of totality from the solar eclipse. More information is coming with the Eclipse Corners.                                                                                         - Dan Slais

Dan Slais is a retired 8th grade earth science teacher from Waynesville, MO.  He has taught Astronomy and Geology for Columbia College and has worked as a seasonal National Park Ranger for seven seasons.  

Join us August 18-21, 2017 for Midnight at Noon, a four day music festival and eclipse viewing event in Owensville and Rosebud, MO.  For more information click HERE

Friday, August 11, 2017

Eclipse Conrer #15 PLANT AND ANIMAL BEHAVIOR

     Do plants and animals respond to a solar total eclipse? Viewers in 2017 should look for fireflies, crickets chirping, and other evening sounds that may accompany the  darkness of totality of the solar eclipse. Grazing cattle head back to the barn, birds quit singing, chickens go to roost, bees head back to the hive, and frogs begin to croak, possibly reacting as if sunset were occurring.  In the plant kingdom, Anemone, Morning Glories, Poppies, and Crocus will have flowers closing (narcissist) when the Sun sets while Evening Primrose start to open flowers and Night Violets release more scent. Once the eclipse passes, all, both plants and animals return to normal daily activities. Most of these reports were not complete research, just mere observation of activities around individuals.www.eclipsewatch.In
     Astronomy needs systematic studies to decide whether these plant and animal reactions during the solar eclipse were simply a diurnal approach to darkness and cooling temperatures or an innate instinctive mechanism by plants and animals concerning an unusual event. Research on dogs has shown that dogs and some other animals can detect certain natural phenomenon like earthquakes. However, it was found that dogs can hear low frequency waves that humans cannot detect. Actually dogs and cats are animals that are not thought to respond at all to eclipses. The question remains whether the plant and animal behavior is triggered by the right cues or is it their animal instincts.

     Dr. Doug Duncan, director of the Fiske Planetarium, professor of Astrophysics and Planetary Sciences at University of Colorado, has information on llamas lining up around solar eclipse viewers in Bolivia in 1994. No one knew where they came from and they left about 5 minutes after the totality. Dr. Duncan also has seen from a boat approximately 5 minutes before solar eclipse totality at the Galapagos Islands in 1998, whales and dolphins surfacing around the boat. They left 5 minutes after the totality. It is difficult to mark cues for this behavior. Duncan commented that animals can “freak out” or react just like humans who scream, shout, and do other strange things. It might be something to watch out for? https:www.youtube.com/watch?v=ap22fvNWQTM

Composite picture –Wolf howling at the total eclipse?













     For the August 21st total solar eclipse, new research is going to check on some animal behavior. Dr. Rod Mills and Dr. Dan Sudbrink, APSU, are working with the Goddard Institute for Space Studies to observe animal behavior during the eclipse. Dr. Mills is watching cattle, and Dr. Sudbrink is studying crickets.   The California Academy of Science, Solar Eclipse 2017: Life Responds project, is asking viewers to record and/or photograph plant and animal activities and send them the information. Check website calacademy.org.
     Citizen research is helping in many areas for the August 21 solar eclipse. The Citizen CATE (Continental-America Telescopic Eclipse) Experiment aims to capture images of the inner solar corona using a network of more than 68 telescopes operated by citizen scientists, high school groups and universities. CATE is currently a joint project involving volunteers from more than 20 high schools, 20 universities, informal education groups, astronomy clubs across the country, 5 national science research labs and 5 corporate sponsors.  The goal of CATE is to produce a scientifically unique data set: high-resolution, rapid cadence white light images of the inner corona for 90 minutes. The   Citizen CATE is sponsored by Sky and Telescope Magazine. Check website eclipse2017.nso.edu
     More total solar eclipse information will be coming soon. –Dan Slais

Dan Slais is a retired 8th grade earth science teacher from Waynesville, MO.  He has taught Astronomy and Geology for Columbia College and has worked as a seasonal National Park Ranger for seven seasons.  

Join us August 18-21, 2017 for Midnight at Noon, a four day music festival and eclipse viewing event in Owensville and Rosebud, MO.  For more information click HERE

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Eclipse Corner #14 Stars and Planets During the Daytime

     During totality of the solar eclipse, the darkened sky will reveal four planets to the unaided eye near the eclipsed Sun. In order of brightness, Venus will be on the right (west) of the Sun, and Jupiter on the left (east). Less bright are Mars, above (northwest) and Mercury closest to the left (east) shining as well. Some of the brighter stars will also be visible. The Sun is in the constellation Leo who’s brightest star is Regulus. Among other stars and constellations are, the constellation Orion with stars Betegeuse and Rigel and our sky’s brightest star Sirius all southwest of the Sun.


Chart courtesy Larry A Stevens editor of Totality  -   Inset showing the star Regulus with Sun.

     Brightness in astronomy is measured in magnitude which was first set up by Greek astronomer Hippachus in 150 BC. His brightest star was given the magnitude 1 and the next brightest class 2 until he had 6 classes. Today’s apparent magnitude scale has a better mathematic logarithmic background but still poses a semblance to Hipparchus’ thinking. The larger the number of the magnitude, the less brightness. In fact as objects get brighter like a full Moon their magnitude number will be lower, therefore often in the negative numbers.  For example, the Sun is at -26.7, Sirius is the brightest star in the night sky at -1.42, and Rigel from the constellation Orion is 0.12.  All of these measurements are the apparent magnitude or simply the brightness we see.
     When the distance from earth is calculated into the brightness formula, astronomers call it the absolute magnitude. To measure absolute magnitude of a star, the brightness of objects is measured at an equal distance of 32.6 light-years or 10 parsecs from earth. The Sun, with apparent magnitude -26.7 is so close but at 32.6 light-years away would have an absolute magnitude of 4.2. Rigel with a 0.12 apparent magnitude is at its distance away of 1,400 light-years, so Rigel would have a -8.1      absolute magnitude.  Thinking and understanding about apparent and absolute magnitudes with the dimensions of space is interesting.
     The brightness for the planets, being so close, is always measured in apparent magnitude and the brightness does change because their distance to the earth is always changing as the planets all orbit the Sun. The calculated apparent magnitudes for the planets seen during the August 21 eclipse totality are: Venus -4.0, Jupiter -1.8, Mars +1.8, Mercury +3.3 (Space.com)


From the Americaneclipseusa.com

     Do not spend too much of your few minutes of totality checking the planets and stars. The solar corona as well as the total horizon around you will be amazing as well. More information about the solar eclipse will be forthcoming.                                                                                                            –Dan Slais


Dan Slais is a retired 8th grade earth science teacher from Waynesville, MO.  He has taught Astronomy and Geology for Columbia College and has worked as a seasonal National Park Ranger for seven seasons. 

Join us August 18-21, 2017 for Midnight at Noon, a four day music festival and eclipse viewing event in Owensville and Rosebud, MO.  For more information click HERE

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Eclipse Corner #13 PHOTOGRAPHING THE ECLIPSE

     Taking photos of the solar eclipse may present some difficulties worth considering. Because of the brightness of the Sun, most individuals need to contact a camera expert or store on particular cameras and setups to produce good pictures. Most cell phones cameras do not have the lens necessary to make a large enough image of the Sun. The light from the Sun, especially if magnified could damage the internal light sensor. A cell phone will photograph the totality safely. Many professional photographers will be attaching cameras to telescopes which have solar filters. Many telescopes and spotting scopes allow cameras to be affixed to the scopes via adapters. Solar filters are an expensive item for a camera. Scout your location a day or two in advance to see the path the sun will take across the sky on the day of the eclipse.
     A solar filter must be used on the lens throughout the partial phases for both photo-graphy and safe viewing with sunlight involved. WARNING: Regardless of the filter system you employ, take care to ensure the filter does not accidently come off your rig while photographing the sun. At totality, don't forget to remove filters. Also, cameras must use a long enough lens that you'll actually see something where standard point-and-shoot cameras will make the sun's image way too small.  You will need at least a 300mm focal length lens. (Test it out on the full moon - which is about the same size as the sun - to see what your results will be.) Use a tripod if you have one to keep your system steady. Set your ISO to the lowest value like 100. Operations work best on the camera mode Manual. Some of these ideas require experience or practice.
      Even if you are just taking a picture of totality, preparation is essential to success. Make a checklist of everything you'll need, and check that you've packed everything before you leave home. The next and most important step is practice. Pre-focus all your cameras on the full moon two weeks before the eclipse (some tape down the lenses to their focused setting with duct tape). Think of anything that can go wrong, and plan for it. Run through the entire sequence of your actions beforehand, until it becomes automatic.  Make sure you have a memory card to hold all of the frames that you will shoot especially during totality. Change ALL your equipment's batteries to fresh ones the night beforehand. If you’re in the path of totality, bring a flashlight. It can get dark enough during totality that you won’t be able to see your camera settings without one!  Remember that when totality hits, you may lose your ability to think clearly - keep it simple!   

      Good Total Eclipse photos can require hundreds of pictures to be taken and then many hours of post-processing with the computer are necessary to achieve an above average photo. ! If you're uncomfortable in any way with the technical aspects of filters, f-stops, and quirks of more advanced photography, one better start practicing. Test everything beforehand until you can do it all in your sleep.DO NOT USE A FLASH OF ANY KIND!  You will ruin the dark adaptation of everyone's eyes, and will spoil the show for them all!  The easiest way to determine exposure is to practice on the un-eclipsed sun on a clear day prior to the eclipse.  You must ensure that there is NEVER any chance AT ALL that anyone could possibly look through an unfiltered camera lens at the Sun!

Pictured here is Fred Espenak, Mr Eclipse, in Libya for the Mar. 29, 2006 solar eclipse. Note the solar filters on the front elements of the telescopes and the Nikon D-SLR attached to the telescope closest to him, cable release in hand.


Tips provided here includes information from: Fred Espenak, Nasim Mansurov, Jerry Lodriguss, and the American Astronomical Society/National Science Foundation 








     Most astronomers advise to just sit back and enjoy the visual show - there is a lot to see and experience. Wasting time with a camera will detract from the splendor. Enjoy it with your own (protected) eyes. Burn images into your brain that will be better than photos, and will last the rest of your life! However, photographing a solar eclipse is both thrilling and exhilarating. A good photo provides a tangible memory that will never fail to bring a chill or a tingle. Even a simple camera will produce a picture of Totality that captures the moment.       Don't forget to take some grab shots of the horizon and the crowd going crazy during totality. In fact, set up a video camera (pointed at the people around you - NOT the sun!) and let it run during totality, so you can always relive the foolish things you screamed during totality!   Remember, there will be professional photos on the computer.   -Dan Slais

Dan Slais is a retired 8th grade earth science teacher from Waynesville, MO.  He has taught Astronomy and Geology for Columbia College and has worked as a seasonal National Park Ranger for seven seasons. 

Join us August 18-21, 2017 for Midnight at Noon, a four day music festival and eclipse viewing event in Owensville and Rosebud, MO.  For more information click HERE

Friday, August 4, 2017

Eclipse Corner #12 THE SAROS CYCLE

     For all earth observers, including the ancients, the Sun is the beginning, the constant, for explaining nature. First, the Sun defines our cardinal directions. Second, the Sun sets up our calendar as the earth revolves around the sun once to make a year. Ancient markers and tablets show reckoning with seasonal markers like summer and winter solstices and equinoxes. To understand and predict eclipses, however, the Moon is a key. There are 2 to 5 solar eclipses somewhere on earth each year.
     The periodicity and reoccurrence of solar eclipses is governed by the Saros Cycle. Saros means to repeat. Natural harmony between the three lunar orbital periods and the alignment of the Sun is the key. Ancients found the three lunar orbital periods all were the same for some eclipses.  Those three orbital periods of the Moon are: the synodic or lunar phases at 29.5 days, the draconic movement where the Moon is at the 5° node of alignment at 27.2 days, and the anomalistic movement or having the Moon the same distance to Earth at 27days13hours18.5 minutes.  Babylonians may have been the first, but with many other civilizations were able to see a repetition in the eclipse schedule at 18 years, 11 days, and 8 hours. This is the Saros Cycle.
     The Saros is useful in organizing eclipses into families or series. The total solar eclipse of 2017 is a member of the Saros series 145. Each series typically lasts 12 or 13 centuries and contains 70 or more eclipses. Series 145 is a young one and began on January 4, 1639 with a small partial solar eclipse near the North pole. The series continues as the Moon moves southward with the final eclipse of the 145 Saros series taking place April 17, 3009 with a partial solar eclipse over Antarctica.  All eclipses moving southward are odd numbered Saros and where Saros series moving northward are numbered evenly.
     Any two eclipses separated by one Saros cycle share very similar geometries. Location, however, is a problem. The additional 8 hours on the repetition means the earth will rotate an additional 120 degrees. Waiting 18 years, 11 days, and 8 hours, the next eclipse of the Saros 145 series occurs on September 02, 2035 across western China and Japan, ending in the Pacific Ocean 1300 miles from the Hawaiian Islands. Waiting 3 Saros cycles will bring it back to our hemisphere, but
it has then moved south. That location of the September 23, 2071, Saros 145 solar eclipse will center on Mexico, a tip of Texas on the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean, and the northern part of South America.

     The total pattern of Saros cycles is very complicated. In general there will be 38-42 solar Saros Cycles and a similar number of lunar Saros Cycles operating at once. Our next total solar eclipse visible in the US will be part of the Saros Cycle 139 on Monday, April 8, 2024.  Part of Southeastern Missouri will be in for totality.

The Antikythera mechanism is thought to be an ancient analogue computer or orrery (which is a mechanical model of the solar system used to represent their relative positions and motions). The device was found in 1900 by sponge divers in a Roman shipwreck off the coast of the island of Antikythera. The mechanical device was heavily corroded with indiscernible inscriptions but ran on a complicated set of dials and more than 30 bronze gears. This ancient Greek machine is regarded by some experts as the world’s first computer which may have predicted solar eclipses based on the Saros formula.



             decoding the heavens.com


      Changing subject matter, one question asked often is why does the eclipse moves from west to east when the both the Sun and the Moon appear to go the other way –east to west. The movement of the Sun and Moon is caused by the Earth’s rotation of 24 hours (counterclockwise from the North Pole). The Moon orbits earth in the same direction that the Earth rotates, but it takes the Moon 27.3 days to make a complete revolution. The Moon’s revolution in 27.3 days is ahead of  the earth’s rotation by a small bit. The Moon’s movement allows it to be in a different position each night among the stars. The Moon moves 13° East or comes up 50 minutes later each night. As the Moon is moving ahead of the Earth’s rotation, counterclockwise, (west to east), the eclipse appears to move from west to east.
     There will be more astronomy coming up in the Eclipse Corner in the next few weeks to get us ready for the August 21 total solar eclipse.  –Dan Slais

Dan Slais is a retired 8th grade earth science teacher from Waynesville, MO.  He has taught Astronomy and Geology for Columbia College and has worked as a seasonal National Park Ranger for seven seasons. 

Join us August 18-21, 2017 for Midnight at Noon, a four-day music festival and eclipse viewing event in Owensville and Rosebud, MO.  For more information visit our website at http://eclipsemissouri2017.com

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Eclipse Corner #11 TOTALITY

A total solar eclipse will have four stages or phases. First Contact or C1 is when the Moon first “touches” or blocks any light of the Sun. This produces a partial eclipse where the Sun looks as if a bite has been taken from it. Eye protection is necessary to watch at C1. Second Contact, C2, is when the entire disk of the Sun is covered by the Moon. This is totality. Eclipse glasses can be taken off.  Only some two minutes and a few seconds later (depending only your location), Third Contact, C3, will occur when the edge of the Sun reappears and eye protection is again necessary. After C3, partial eclipse will occur until the Moon is no longer blocking any of the Sun’s disk at Fourth Contact. The eclipse ends at C4.


     During solar eclipse totality, night falls at noon. The Sun is replaced by a black hole in the sky, where the Moon completely obscures the bright solar disc. In this apparent nightfall, dusk to dawn lights may come on. Breezes will vanish and birds may come to roost. Shadows will look eerie. A 10° to15° Fahrenheit temperature drop in temperature is not unusual. One of the great things about the totality is that it looks best to naked eyes. *There are several items that can only be seen during a total solar eclipse.
     The chromosphere or inner atmosphere of the Sun becomes briefly visible in the first few seconds following the onset of totality. This is a red-colored region of the Sun’s atmosphere, visible along the leading edge of the Moon’s motion. Other features of the chromosphere like prominences or gigantic eruptions from the Sun may be visible.
     The Baily’s beads effect is seen just before and after the Moon covers the total Sun, when the rugged edge topography of the Moon allows small patches of light to shine through looking like beads. British astronomer Francis Baily first noted them in 1836. Following Baily’s Beads, the Diamond Ring or Diamond Ring effect occurs at the beginning and end of the total solar eclipse. As the last bits of sunlight pass through the valleys on the moon’s limb to make a diamond, the faint corona around the Sun looks like the ring. Both these phenomenon require Eclipse glasses to view.

Photo from  www. Timeanddate.com/eclipse/ total-solar-eclipse. html

     When the Moon completely covers the solar disk, only the Sun’s Corona is visible. The corona, the outer layer of the Sun’s atmosphere, is the main source of light during totality. The wispy corona extends all directions around the Sun’s position. This glorious solar feature is one of the rarest sights in nature and is only naturally visible during a total eclipse. The light given off by the corona during totality is about as bright as the Full Moon normally appears. Sometimes sunlit areas beyond the umbra, outside the region of totality, can result in a colorful daytime horizon on all sides. 
     Shadow bands along earthly light-colored surfaces are another feature just before and after the total eclipse. The sunlight will “twinkle” producing dark and light bands on the ground as it goes through layers of the earth’s atmosphere. Shadow bands are much like the effect of undulating waves of sunlight dancing on the bottom of a swimming pool. A large piece of white poster board can provide enough contrast for viewing shadow bands.  The realization of all these features of the total solar eclipse, can somewhat overwhelm the human mind. More next time.   –Dan Slais

Join us August 18-21, 2017 for Midnight at Noon, a four day music festival and eclipse viewing event in Owensville and Rosebud, MO.  For more information visit our website eclipsemissouri2017.com

Eclipse Corner #18 THE EXPERIENCE OF VIEWING

     Part of the experience of seeing the total solar eclipse is to be in the right place at the right time. With all the information provi...