December 14, 2017

Astronomy Video of the Week – Howling at Totality

Our grim view, moments before totality.

Screams break the silence…” So, where were YOU last Monday? If you were like us, you made the pilgrimage to stand in the path of the total solar eclipse. We’ll admit, we — like many viewers east of the Mississippi River — battled touch and go views of the eclipse through rolling clouds as we watched from the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute in southwestern North Carolina.

Luckily, one of the more unique events along the path had mostly clear skies, as totality crossed over the Moonstock music festival in southern Illinois. And Ozzy Osbourne opened his set right on cue just moments before the start of totality with Bark at the Moon. We’ve looked over about a dozen bootleg mobile phone videos capturing the event, and this is one of the best balances of the eclipse and the performance:

This isn’t Bonnie Tyler singing “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” that’s for sure… although that did indeed occur as well. Totality during Monday’s eclipse was indeed about one metal guitar solo long, and kudos to Zakk Wylde for shredding on while the Sun didn’t shine. Heck, Ozzy even timed the final howl at the Moon along with the audience just as a brilliant diamond ring signaling the end of totality split the sky. Here we are in 2017, still screaming at the sky and making a mighty din, beseeching the Moon to return our Sun.

Performances during a total solar eclipse give you one take and one take only to get it right. The 1960 film Barabbas, for example, features a crucifixion scene shot during a total solar eclipse in Italy. More recently in 2015, the band Hamferđ performed their song Deyđir varđar during totality over the Faroe Islands.

Kuddos to Ozzy for pulling this one off. What’s next? Well, you don’t have to wait until the 2024 and the return of totality to the United States, as we’ve got a total solar eclipse passing over several world-class observatories in Chile less than two years from now on July 2, 2019…

Any takers, in the newly minted next generation of metal fans and eclipse chasers?

 

Astro-Vid Of the Week: Tracking the 2017 Solar Eclipse

The path of the 2017 eclipse over the U.S.

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

Where will you be on August 21st, 2017? That date isn’t as far away as you think. Just over three and half years from now, a total solar eclipse will span contiguous United States from the Pacific Northwest to the southeastern Atlantic seaboard. This will be the first solar eclipse to grace the lower 48 states since 1979, and the first time totality has crossed any of the 50 states since 1991. [Read more...]

Review: Exploring the Saros with Eclipse-Maps!

Paths over North America from 2001-2050.

(Click to enlarge)

(Courtesy of Eclipse-Maps)

It happens sometimes in the world of astronomy journalism. One of the funniest stories I’ve ever heard science journalist Bob Berman tell was that of an irate eclipse chaser. He had used his erroneous article based on a faulty prediction to plan his vacation to St. Kitts, which lay well outside of the path of totality. [Read more...]