December 11, 2017

Astro-Events: A Close Conjunction and a Penumbral Eclipse.

Looking east Nov 27 two hours before sunrise.

(Created by the author in Starry Night).

This week sees the second eclipse of the November eclipse season and the spectacular return of the ringed planet to dawn skies.

First up is the penumbral eclipse of the Moon on November 28th. A Penumbral eclipse occurs when the Full Moon misses the dark inner umbra and instead passes through the indistinct, bright outer penumbra of the Earth’s shadow. You may not even notice the subtle shading of the Moon unless you’re looking for it. [Read more...]

AstroEvent: A Pacific-Spanning Annular Eclipse!

(Credit: NASA/A.T. Sinclair).

Live on the west coast of the United States? This weekend, you will get to witness a rare astronomical spectacle, the likes of which the continental U.S. has not seen since 1994.  On May 20th (21st across the International Date Line) an annular solar eclipse graces our fair planet. This eclipse is “annular” in the aspect that the Moon will be only 31 hours from an apogee of 406,450 kilometers around the time it passes between the Earth and the Sun, and thus will appear too small to cover the disk of our nearest star, as it normally does during a total solar eclipse. [Read more...]