Space news stories
Eclipse Day! That means you’re hopefully about to witness a rare and profoundly mindblowing celestial event: the first total solar eclipse whose path of totality spans coast-to-coast in the continental United States since 1918. When the moon precisely lines up between the Sun and the Earth and darkness descends, you’re going to want to know what’s going on and why people are so psyched. So if you need a little help brushing up on your eclipse knowledge before this spectacular event, we’ve got you covered. Here are all 6 of the must-reads Smithsonian.com has published this summer on the history of awestruck eclipse chasers, ancient eclipse anxiety, Benjamin Franklin’s eclipse satire and more. Happy eclipsing!
The day we’ve been waiting for is almost upon us. August 21, the day of the Great American Solar Eclipse with the path of totality spanning 14 states and seen cross the world, but … what happens if you don’t see it? Work, illness, or worst of all, cloudcover could prevent you from basking in the glorious shadow cast by the moon passing between Earth and the sun, and sharing this historic eclipse with the nation. We already know that Eclipse FOMO [feelings of missing out] is real, but what if it comes to pass for you? First of all: take a deep breath. There’s hope!
Millions of eyes will gaze toward the heavens August 21 for the first total solar eclipse to cross the United States in nearly 100 years. It will sweep on a path of totality across 14 states from Oregon through South Carolina. Before and after the event, a gallery at the ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, California is celebrating with the exhibit “Eclipse.” In their words, “Back then there was no internet and no spacecraft to examine the sun. The only way astronomers could get a good look at the corona of the sun was to travel on arduous expeditions into remote areas of the world.”
A retired NASA astrophysicist met his true love, a retired chemistry teacher, at an eclipse event in 1970. Since they shared interests in eclipses and science, the two began dating, and got married in 2006. Fred and Patricia Espenak now live in Arizona Sky Village, an eastern Arizona village designed for astronomers who want to make observations with minimal light pollution. The two have turned their love for eclipses into a full-time hobby. Now they travel the world together, from China to Antarctica, chasing these rare celestial phenomena.
There are plenty of places around the world with some bizarre celebrations and rituals that come out every time the moon passes in front of the sun in a solar eclipse. Cheeky little article complete with cornball videos from a UK tabloid website, just in time for the Great American Eclipse on 21 August, 2017.
Multiple organizations are livestreaming the event being called the Great American Solar Eclipse in incredible and unique ways. The folks at Sky and Telescope have provided a partial list. Take a look.
This is a rather detailed scientific firsthand account about how you can sometimes move mountains — or, in this case, airplanes — with a simple suggestion. A planetarium instructor convinced Alaska Airlines to change flight times, among other things, to provide a glimpse of the darkening sun. They’ve done it more than once, for passengers since 2015, and the flights are not specially advertised.
Millions of people across the United States will cast their gaze upward to watch tomorrow’s total solar eclipse as it passes across the breadth of the nation. But what would it look like if you could gaze down on it from a million miles away in space?
Hipparchus, the Greek astronomer and mathematician who lived more than 2,000 years ago, used the solar eclipse to solve a celestial geometry problem. He was among the earliest scholars to take advantage of eclipses for science. In more recent centuries, scientists have used these celestial events as opportunities to study the solar system, especially the sun itself. Usually, the sun is too bright for scientists to see anything in its immediate vicinity. Only during eclipses does its radiant halo, the corona, become visible.
The solar eclipse set to take place on August 21st is going to be a sight to behold — provided you have the proper protection for your eyes and camera. Looking at the sun can cause permanent damage, but if you’re not careful, as this informative video proves, you can also destroy your camera.
Animals in the path of the first total solar eclipse to travel across the United States in 99 years have a big surprise awaiting them on the afternoon of 21 August, biologists say. Zoos, aquariums and other wildlife parks see the celestial phenomenon as a special research opportunity to observe how birds and mammals, both diurnal and nocturnal, react when the moon’s shadow blots out most of the sun’s light in the middle of the day.
The “real time sonofication” of the total solar eclipse in a collaboration between the Kronos Quartet and a composer/sound artist at the Exploratorium in San Francisco, California. The full composition will feature music created digitally from a live feed of the eclipse. The piece is called The 233rd Day in reference to its 2017 solar eclipse debut date.
Around mid-day 21 August when millions across the US are looking up at the Great American Eclipse, a team of researchers from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics will be flying high above the clouds of Kentucky and Tennessee, totally blind to that rare astral phenomenon happening above their heads. Instead of playing a giant game of sun peek-a-boo like the rest of us, these four scientists are hoping their flight will begin to unlock some of the most burning mysteries of the sun. But it means they probably won’t get to see the total solar eclipse at all.
The first total solar eclipse to sweep North America in nearly a century will march across the continent August 21, casting a shadow over millions of people from coast to coast in swath spanning 14 states. This historic event dubbed “The Great American Eclipse” is inspiring a surge in tourism in the US along with sky-high prices and a rise in scams. According to the website greatamericaneclipse.com, between 1.85 and 7.4 million people are expected to travel into the path of totality. The folks at Phys.org have compiled a compendium of facts.
In 1715, Edmond Halley published a map predicting the time and path of a coming solar eclipse. Today the astronomer is most famous for understanding the behavior of the comet now named for him, but in his lifetime he was a hotshot academic, elected to the Royal Society at age 22 and appointed the second Astronomer Royal in 1720.