jump to navigation

Watch the Partial Solar Eclipse Online | Sky & Telescope October 23, 2014

Posted by aquillam in Astronomy, MichiganAstro.
Tags: ,
add a comment

Watch the Partial Solar Eclipse Online | Sky & Telescope.

Sky & Tel has a great list of live eclipse webcasts, so if the one you’re using isn’t working, check their list!

Partial Solar Eclipse Observing October 16, 2014

Posted by aquillam in Astronomy, Galileoscope, MichiganAstro, Urban Observing.
Tags: , ,
add a comment

There’s only a week left to get ready for the partial solar eclipse! Since it is only a partial, there is never a moment when it will be safe to look at the sun without proper protection.

It’s so important, I’ll say it again:

DO NOT LOOK DIRECTLY AT THE UNFILTERED SUN.

Got a small ‘scope and want a way to view the sun safely with it? How about building a sun funnel! Get the directions for a sun funnel from the transit of Venus site.

Don’t have the patience for that much effort? Projection screens are simpler, but you’ll have to keep an eye on your telescope to make sure nobody tries to actually look through it. In fact, I don’t recommend using this method at star parties or public events. Most non-astronomers don’t know how to tell the difference between a filtered and unfiltered telescope. Even if you make the tripod short and project onto the ground, that just makes it perfect for a curious four-year-old. However, for yourself or an older audience, this is a very quick and easy way to observe the sun. The simplest version of this this is a white piece of paper on a clipboard, held in front of the eyepiece. If you’re going to use a projection screen, make sure you have real glass eyepieces. Nothing like having eyepiece go up in smoke halfway through the eclipse. If you are using a Galileoscope, you probably shouldn’t use the eyepiece that came with it.

This screen is mounted on a dowel, which is zip-tied to the telescope. I've still had kids try to squeeze their head in against the dowel.

This screen is mounted on a dowel, which is zip-tied to the telescope. I’ve still had kids try to squeeze their head in against the dowel.

No telescope? You can do the projection with a pair of binoculars to. Again, keep a close eye to make sure no one actually looks through the binoculars.

If you have no optics whatsoever, you can still watch the eclipse. Just poke a hole in a piece of paper and project the image onto the ground or another piece of paper.  This isn’t a great way of looking for small features like sunspots, but it will certainly show off of eclipse. For that matter, so will the shadow of a leafy tree.

A solar eclipse viewed using leaf shadows. Click for original image and more information.

A haunting star for the month of Halloween October 9, 2014

Posted by aquillam in Astronomy, MichiganAstro, Urban Observing.
Tags: , ,
add a comment

Algol, the demon star, is a good target for October. The winking eye of Medusa, this is an eclipsing binary that goes from an easy second magnitude star to a near fourth magnitude star that can be hard to spot in urban skies.

Evening observers in the eastern time zone can see the star fade from view on Oct 13 and Nov 2. Morning observers get their best views on the 16th and 28.

You can check timing for your location using the tool from Sky and Telescope.

The starry sky with the stick figure of Perseus, and Algol marked.

Looking ENE at 10 PM on Oct 16, when Algol should be dim and difficult to see.

Resources for the Oct 8 2014 lunar eclipse October 7, 2014

Posted by aquillam in Astronomy, MichiganAstro, Urban Observing.
Tags: ,
add a comment

This is a straight-up list of resources for the eclipse on Oct 8, 2014.

Information on observing the eclipse:

http://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/lunar/2014-october-8

http://spaceweather.com/

http://www.skyandtelescope.com/astronomy-news/observing-news/total-lunar-eclipse-09262014/

http://earthsky.org/tonight/total-lunar-eclipse-blood-moon-hunters-moon-october-7-8-2014

http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/OH/OH2014.html#LE2014Oct08T

 

Live feeds (so you can watch if the Moon isn’t out or it’s cloudy)

http://new.livestream.com/GriffithObservatoryTV

http://live.slooh.com/stadium/live/slooh-covers-the-total-lunar-eclipse-of-october-2014-as-it-slides-across-the-pacific-ocean

http://www.stargazersonline.org/lunar_eclipse_10-08-14.html

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/nasa-msfc

http://www.virtualtelescope.eu/2014/09/26/8-october-2014-total-lunar-eclipse-live-event-online-2/

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 233 other followers