Monday, November 7, 2011

The Unseen Elclipses of January 4, 2011 Plus More

It was the day after the January 4, 2011 partial solar eclipses. After searching for hours over the internet for pictures of them (i.e., results) I could not come across over any pictures. But, to my dismay, just today I found those long lost pictures in browsing through NASA's APOD (known as Astronomy Picture of the Day). Below are those "lost" photographs of each eclipse, and they are spectacular! I wish I could have found them sooner. (The caption of each image is credit NASA, APOD. Credit follows.)


Explanation: Seen from central and northern Asia, the Sun and New Moon set together on January 4, in a partial solar eclipse. Close to its maximum phase, the eclipse is captured near the moment of sunset in this wintry scene from the bank of the Berd River near Novosibirsk, Siberia, Russia. An evocative view in fading light, the picture looks toward the western horizon across a snowy, frozen landscape. Along with offset Sun and Moon, the dimly lit sky includes an industrial smoke plume and airplane contrail. Image COPYRIGHT Aleksandr Yuferev.

Explanation: For many Europeans, the Sun and New Moon rose together on January 4 in a partial solar eclipse. Arriving close on the heels of the new year, it was the first of a series of four(!) partial solar eclipses due in 2011. This composite image documents the graceful celestial event in colorful morning skies over Graz, Austria. Beginning before sunrise, frames were taken to record the position and progress of the eclipse every 15 minutes. As Sun and Moon rose above the eastern horizon, the town of Graz is seen bathed in warming sunlight only partially blocked by the New Moon, spreading beneath the town's landmark clock tower. Image COPRIGHT Robert Pölzl

If the eclipse wasn't enough, I cannot get over the beauty of the June 15 total lunar eclipse. Here is one of my favorite pictures, plus and accompanying video. Next Eclipse (from today, Nov 7, 2011) is NOV 25!!

Explanation: The total phase of the June 15 lunar eclipse lasted an impressive 100 minutes. Its entire duration is covered in this composite of a regular sequence of digital camera exposures, tracking the dark lunar disk as it arced above the Acropolis in Athens, Greece. In fact, around 270 BCE Greek astronomer Aristarchus also tracked the duration of lunar eclipses, though without the benefit of digital clocks and cameras. Still, using geometry, he devised a simple and impressively accurate way to calculate the Moon's distance, in terms of the radius of planet Earth, from the eclipse duration. A more modern Greek astronomer, Elias Politis titled this eclipse duration study and the accompanying youtube timelapse video "Acropoclipse". Image COPYRIGHT Elias Politis

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