Christmas Eclipse 2000
I shot this photo thru a Celestron 11" SCT during maximum eclipse
(58%) from Bridgewater, Massachusetts. Wind chill was bitterly cold but proved to be worth the effort when I picked up my pictures at Wal-Mart
Lee and Doug Crenshaw in Jacksonville, FL, positioned the eclipsed
sun at the top of their own astronomical Christmas Tree.
Crenshaws have a glass solar filter that they used to view the eclipse through
their Celestron Short Tube 80-mm telescope. They removed the filter for these
shots taken with their Olympus OM-1 SLR camera, using a 50mm lens at f/16, for
1/500 sec exposure.
A Christmas Present
for North America
from the Solar System
On December 25, 2000, observers in North America will receive a
Christmas present from the Sun and the Moon - a Partial Solar Eclipse. This eclipse will begin at 15:36 UT, with mid-eclipse at 17:30 UT, and
end at 19:43 UT. Perfectly placed for viewers in North America, this event is an
exciting opportunity for astronomers to share one of the wonders of the universe
with their families on this Universal Holiday.
The further north you live, the greater the eclipse you will
see. Viewers in eastern Canada can see an eclipse of almost 60 percent, while viewers in
the southwestern United States and Mexico can observe only a 20 to 30 percent
A solar eclipse occurs when the moon is positioned
between the sun and the Earth. The moon then casts a shadow on the
Earth's surface, and also obscures the solar disk.
During a total eclipse, the moon's dark inner shadow,
called the umbra, strikes the Earth. During a partial eclipse, only the
fainter outer shadow, called the penumbra, strikes the Earth.
A full solar eclipse can cause brief, localized
darkness, but during a partial eclipse, only a slight dimming of
sunlight during maximum eclipse will be perceptible.
At maximum eclipse, the solar disk will resemble a
cookie with a hearty bite taken out of one side.
Safe Eclipse Observing
This is a perfect opportunity to use that new telescope you got
for Christmas, as long as you make sure you have that that new solar filter in
place for your viewing.
The American Optometric Association warns skywatchers not to look directly at
the eclipsed sun. "Looking at the solar eclipse withoug proper protection
can result in serious eye damage," the association warns in a statement. To
view the eclipse, the experts recommend special equipment, such as a welder's
lens, a pinhole camera, or other indirect viewing equipment.
Observe Christmas Eclipse
Heidi and I just came back from Foothill College, where the Peninsula
Astronomical Society maintains the Solar telescope ... and I quickly processed these -- very
Through a 10x50 binoculars.
This one was taken in our backyard after we got home, just to show sunspots,
which were spectacular! There was a thin film of moisture in the air which
became thicker after we came home. But, we were quite lucky to have seen this much.
This was the way the morning started -- on the mountain peak to the left is
the Lick Observatory.
I did get a spectacular view here in New England. I used a terrific pair
of glasses from AAAA. Even my hubby who finds astronomy boring was impressed.
My kids were awed as was my sister who was here for dinner. Way cool. This is
the first one I've seen since I was a kid. I made an eclipse box but didn't
need it. Good thing cuz the wind chill was -20 here today -- YIKES
Merry Christmas, my astro-friends!
Down here in Alabama I thoroughly enjoyed the eclipse!!!! Went outside
at 10:10 a.m. and it had already started. Scott and the kids even went out with me to enjoy it!!! By 11 it was at
about 40 %.
I even tried something. Now, I don't have a fancy camera that does those
type pictures, but I did hold my solar shades up in front of my little 110 camera and tried it. ( OKAY, OKAY.....I can already hear the
snickers out there, but, hey, I had to try it!!!!) When I get it developed I'll let ya'll know if it worked.
Okay, I know it sounds funny....and I can just "picture" ya'll rolling on the floors laughing at my attempts to photograph the solar eclipse with a
110 camera that I paid one dollar for three years ago!!!!!
God still has that sense of humor! Ha! We missed the first half of the
eclipse today, but got peeks of it beginning around 11:15. I say peeks
because the clouds thinned and made observing pockets. That's the only way
we saw any of it in Topeka. The clouds made a really, really good filter,
too. I didn't have to put the filter on my scope! Cool! Tom, my adult
volunteer assistant, showed up to help me with the observing session, and
he and I did the pocket astronomy. I shot a few photos with my 400 mm lens
and the 50 mm lens. The photos should be ready tomorrow if the Fotomat
isn't overwhelmed with Christmas pictures.
Mark Cunningham in Colorado saw it, too. I don't know if he has any
photos yet or not, but I asked him to send a couple to me if he got any.
I let Tom see last contact today. He deserved it because he came out on
the cold day. It was pretty miserable, but when we got a glimpse of the
eclipse, we warmed up pretty fast.