Friday, August 18, 2017

Great American Solar Eclipse: More Citizen Science Projects

Radio Studio of WCDW-AM
Radio equipment (particularly the Hammerlund multi-band radio receiver on the
right) used for a long-distance radio reception experiment during the Solar
Eclipse of 1972 July 10. This radio equipment was usually used for radio
station WLCR-AM Carrier Current, operated by Summer campers at Camp
Shaw-Mi-Del-Eca near White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.
More info: Link >>> http://johnbrashear.tripod.com/wlcr.html#vain
For the 2017 August 21 Solar Eclipse, EclipseMob and HamSCI are two Citizen
Science projects which will conduct similar radio experiments.
(Image Source: Kent C. Hoffman, Founder, The Radio Group)

By Glenn A. Walsh
Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

Last month, SpaceWatchtower reported on the Great American Solar Eclipse Mega-Movie Project, a major Citizen Science project during next week's Total Solar Eclipse / Total Eclipse of the Sun:


However, several other Citizen Science projects will allow members of the general public to make a contribution to scientific knowledge during this rare event ---

EclipseMob.org - EclipseMob is a crowd-sourced effort to conduct the largest-ever low-frequency radio wave propagation experiment during the 2017 solar eclipse. You can build your own radio receiver and participate in the measurement!


HamSCI 2017 Solar Eclipse Experiment - Ham-radio operators can participate in a number of experiments to measure eclipse-triggered changes in the ionosphere.


Similar radio experiments have been conducted during past Solar Eclipses by The Radio Group (which operated a student-run radio station) near White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia during the Eclipse of 1972 July 10 and by Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science (a.k.a. Buhl Science Center) during the Eclipse of 1991 July 11 with the assistance of the Amateur Transmitters' Association of Western Pennsylvania.

How Cool is the Eclipse? - Collect air- and surface-temperature data on the GLOBE Observer App, even outside the path of totality.


The QuantumWeather Project – This project is participating in a NSF-EPSCOR sponsored project to measure surface and lower atmosphere changes during the eclipse. The 100 surface stations, 9 radiosondes and 3 UAS will be making measurements before, during and after the eclipse. This project is led by Dr. Robert Pasken at the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Saint Louis University.


Eclipse Edge Determination Experiment (International Occultation Timing Association) - The organizers of this project aim to pinpoint the actual edge of the path of totality. The most developed effort so far is at Minden, Nebraska. Others at any other location near the path edges are invited to record the eclipse with smart-phones and small telescopes. The goals are to help determine the accuracy of eclipse path predictions and to contribute to a long-term study to measure possible changes in the size of the Sun.


How Dark Does the Sky Get During a Solar Eclipse (GLOBE at Night) - If you are within the path of totality on August 21, 2017, you can participate in an activity to observe and record the faintest stars visible as a means of measuring how dark the daytime sky gets when the Sun is blocked by the Moon. By locating and observing the Big Dipper during totality and comparing it to star charts, you'll help researchers document darkness levels of the daytime sky during a total solar eclipse.


Eclipse Soundscapes Project - For the visually impaired, or others who are unable to see the eclipse with their own eyes, the Eclipse Soundscapes Project delivers a multisensory experience of this exciting celestial event. The project, from NASA’s Heliophysics Education Consortium, will include audio descriptions of the eclipse in real time, recordings of the changing environmental sounds during the eclipse, and an interactive “rumble map” app that will allow users to visualize the eclipse through touch. Use a mobile app to assist in this Harvard-Smithsonian project to record sound during the eclipse.


DIY Relativity Test - Uber-wonks can follow a published protocol to replicate the 1919 eclipse observations that validated Einstein’s theory of relativity.


Modern Eddington Experiment (Bradley E. Schaefer, Louisiana State University) - Similar to Donald Bruns's Do-It-Yourself Relativity Test (above), but organized by a professional astronomer and historian of science who specializes in difficult observing challenges, the MEE will attempt to confirm Einstein's general theory of relativity with higher precision than that achieved by Arthur Eddington at the 1919 eclipse. Can you photograph the deflection of starlight by the Sun's mass with your own telescope and camera? Give it a try!


Life Responds - There is some evidence that plant and animal life react to the environmental changes that occur during a total solar eclipse. The California Academy of Sciences invites citizen scientists like you to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to record eclipse-related animal behavior with the iNaturalist app.


Eclipse Ballooning Project - This project no longer accepting volunteers. - Students will conduct high altitude balloon (HAB) flights from about 25 locations across the 8/21/2017 total eclipse path, from Oregon to South Carolina, sending live video and images from near space to the NASA website. Video and images of a total eclipse from near space are fascinating – and they’ve only been taken once before, in Australia in 2012, see footage. It’s never been done live, and certainly not in a network of coverage across a continent.


Solar Eclipse Balloon Network (SpaceWeather.com & Earth to Sky Calculus) - Scientists and students have developed a balloon payload that can photograph solar eclipses from the stratosphere. During the August 21st eclipse they'll launch balloons from up to 12 points along the path of totality to create a 360° movie of the Moon's shadow sweeping across the U.S., not unlike the NASA Space Grant Eclipse Ballooning Project (see above). The team asks for donations from the public to finance the effort.


Citizen CATE (Continental-America Telescope Eclipse) – This project no longer accepting volunteers. - The Citizen CATE (Continental-America Telescopic Eclipse) Experiment aims to capture images of the inner solar corona using a network of more than 60 telescopes operated by citizen scientists, high school groups and universities.


Internet Links to Additional Information ---

Great American Solar Eclipse:
Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium4.tripod.com/astrocalendar/2017.html#GASE

Solar Eclipse / Eclipse of the Sun: Tips for Safe Viewing:
Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/FAQ/soleclipse/solareclipseviewingtips.html

More Citizen Science Projects:
Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/FAQ/citizenscience.html

Related Blog Posts ---

"Great American Solar Eclipse Next Monday: Some Ways to See It Safely."

2017 Aug. 14.

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2017/08/great-american-solar-eclipse-next-mon.html

 

"Citizen Science: Aug. 21 Great American Solar Eclipse Mega-Movie Project."

2017 July 24.

Link >>> https://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2017/07/citizen-science-aug-21-great-american.html


"Strong Solar Flare Seen, Although Approaching Sunspot Minimum." 2017 July 15.

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2017/07/strong-solar-flare-seen-although.html

 

"Special Solar Eclipse Stamp to be Unveiled During Stonehenge-Type Solstice Event in Wyoming." 2017 June 19.

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2017/06/special-solar-eclipse-stamps-to-be.html

 

     Safe Public Viewing of the Great American Solar Eclipse
                         Monday, August 21, 2017
     Mt. Lebanon Public Library, South Suburban Pittsburgh
More Info: Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/archivenews/releases/poster-flyer/2017SolarEclipse-Flyer.htm


Source: Glenn A. Walsh Reporting for SpaceWatchtower, a project of Friends of the Zeiss.
             2017 August 18.

                             Like This Post? - Please Share!

            More Astronomy & Science News - SpaceWatchtower Twitter Feed:
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        Astronomy & Science Links: Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#sciencelinks

                Want to receive SpaceWatchtower blog posts in your in-box ?
                Send request to < spacewatchtower@planetarium.cc >.

gaw

Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director, Friends of the Zeiss: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/ >
& SpaceWatchtower Editor / Author: < http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/weblog/spacewatchtower/gaw/ >
Electronic Mail - < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
Astronomy Links: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#astrolinks >
Science Links: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#sciencelinks >
SpaceWatchtower Twitter News Feed: < https://twitter.com/spacewatchtower >
SpaceWatchtower Blog: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
LibraryWatchtower Blog: < http://librarywatchtower.blogspot.com >
TransportWatchtower Blog: < http://transportwatchtower.blogspot.com  >
South Hills Backyard Astronomers Blog: < http://shbastronomers.blogspot.com/ >
Barnestormin Blog: Writing, Essays, Pgh. News, etc.: < http://www.barnestormin.blogspot.com/ >
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
  < http://www.planetarium.cc >
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
  < http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com >
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
  < http://johnbrashear.tripod.com >
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
  < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >
* Civil War Museum of Andrew Carnegie Free Library:
  < http://garespypost.tripod.com >
Duquesne Incline cable-car railway, Pittsburgh:
  < http://inclinedplane.tripod.com >
* Public Transit:
  < http://andrewcarnegie2.tripod.com/transit >

Monday, August 14, 2017

Great American Solar Eclipse Next Monday: Some Ways to See It Safely

http://andrewcarnegie2.tripod.com/SolarEclipseSafetyCanali.GIF
The Great American Solar Eclipse will cross the United States next Monday Afternoon, August 21, 2017. All areas of the United States will see the eclipse, although a Total Eclipse of the Sun will only be seen in a narrow Path of Totality (approx. 70.8 statute miles / 114 kilometers in width) across the country from Oregon to South Carolina. NO PARTIAL PHASE OF ANY SOLAR ECLIPSE / ECLIPSE OF THE SUN IS SAFE TO LOOK AT DIRECTLY, UNLESS YOU HAVE THE PROPER TRAINING AND PROPER EQUIPMENT TO DO SO SAFELY; OTHERWISE EYE-SIGHT COULD BE DAMAGED PERMANENTLY. This graphic shows one way to safely view the partial phases of a Solar Eclipse by building a Solar Pinhole Viewing Box (a.k.a. Pinhole Camera) as shown above. After building this box, you must turn your back to the Sun and allow the light from the Sun to go through the pinhole and shine on a white piece of paper on the other end of the box (NEVER LOOK THROUGH THE PINHOLE AT THE SUN!).
(Graphic Source: Eric G. Canali, former Floor Manager of Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science and Founder of the South Hills Backyard Astronomers amateur astronomy club.)

By Glenn A. Walsh
Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

One week from today, Monday, August 21 will be a special day in the United States as Americans encounter the Great American Solar Eclipse, of which the Path of Totality (the only area where the Sun's direct light will be completely blocked by the Moon for a short period of time) will cross the entire country from Oregon to South Carolina. Major cities within the Path of Totality include Kansas City, St. Louis, Nashville, and Columbia, South Carolina. These cities, along with other areas within the Path of Totality, will experience a short period of time (approximately two and one-half minutes) of a Total Solar Eclipse / Total Eclipse of the Sun, weather-permitting, which is a rare and beautiful sight.

However, the entire country will experience a Partial Solar Eclipse / Partial Eclipse of the Sun, weather-permitting. So everyone needs to be aware of the dangers of directly viewing the Eclipse, but also the ways to safely experience this remarkable astronomical event.

The last time a Total Solar Eclipse crossed the United States was 99 years ago—on 1918 June 8. On that date, the Eclipse Path of Totality moved from Washington State across the country to Florida.

The August 21 Eclipse is also the first time that Solar Eclipse Totality has reached the continental United States since 1979 February 26. However, a Total Solar Eclipse did reach Hawaii on 1991 July 11. Most of the continental United States saw a Partial Eclipse of the Sun that day in 1991 (that was the last Solar Eclipse observed by the general public, using the historic 10-inch Siderostat-Type Refractor Telescope, at Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science).

The next Total Solar Eclipse / Total Eclipse of the Sun, which will cross part of the United States, will occur in seven years, on 2024 April 8. This Eclipse will cross from Texas through Ohio, Erie County, Pennsylvania (where an Annular Eclipse of the Sun traveled on 1994 May 10), southern Ontario and Quebec in Canada, New York State, and New England.

There is only one short time period when it is safe to look at a Solar Eclipse / Eclipse of the Sun directly, with no artificial precautions. This is when a person is looking, specifically, at a Total Solar Eclipse / Total Eclipse of the Sun, specifically, when the person is within the Eclipse's Path of Totality, and specifically, during the short time period (a few minutes, often less) when the Eclipse is in the Total Phase. HOWEVER, all Partial Phases of a Total Solar Eclipse / Total Eclipse of the Sun (which includes Solar Eclipses / Eclipses of the Sun described as "Hybrid"), leading up to the Total Phase, and after the Total Phase, are dangerous to view directly unless you have the proper training and proper equipment to do so safely. However, there are several ways to indirectly view such an Eclipse, which can be done safely when done with care.

The Great American Solar Eclipse will be seen as a Total Eclipse within a Path of Totality, which will be a narrow band stretching from Oregon to South Carolina with a width of approximately 70.8 statute miles / 114 kilometers. The greatest eclipse will occur in the environs of western Kentucky / southern Illinois, where the Total Phase will last two minutes and forty seconds.

https://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SEmono/TSE2017/TSE2017fig/TSE2017-usa.jpg

People viewing the Eclipse within this Path of Totality will have approximately two and one-half minutes (depending on specific location) during the Total Phase when they can, safely, look directly at the Total Solar Eclipse / Total Eclipse of the Sun without any Eclipse Glasses, Pinhole Cameras, or any other special apparatus. HOWEVER, this approximately two and one-half minutes is the ONLY time when viewing the Eclipse without any special precautions is safe !!!

At all other times during the Eclipse, particularly during the Partial Phase leading-up to the Total Phase, and during the Partial Phase after the Total Phase, you should not look directly at the Eclipse unless you have the proper training and proper equipment to do so safely.

Of course, this is also true for the larger part of the country which will only experience a Partial Solar Eclipse / Partial Eclipse of the Sun. Again, there are indirect methods of observing the Eclipse that can be employed, when done with care !

First, click on the following link for a list of methods NOT SAFE to use to look at a Solar Eclipse / Eclipse of the Sun:

Link >>> buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/FAQ/soleclipse/solareclipseviewingtips.html

Of course, observing the Eclipse, live, on the Internet or on Television are obvious ways to view the event very safely. Several organizations, including NASA, will be live-streaming video of the Total Solar Eclipse / Total Eclipse of the Sun on their web-sites. Some television stations and / or networks may also air portions of the Eclipse event, particularly Cable Television Channels that specialize in news or science.

Throughout the country, many planetaria, astronomical observatories, science museums, college (or high school) science departments, amateur astronomy clubs, and public libraries are planning Eclipse “watch parties” where NASA's live-stream video can be seen inside while solar observing equipment, including a telescope, operated by a trained astronomer, will show the local event outside (weather-permitting).

For instance, in south suburban Pittsburgh, a public Eclipse viewing event will occur at the Mount Lebanon Public Library, 16 Castle Shannon Boulevard (near Washington Road) at the southern end of Mount Lebanon's Uptown business district (sponsored by Friends of the Zeiss).

An indirect way of viewing the Eclipse is by creating a Solar Pinhole Viewing Box, also known as a Pinhole Camera. As pictured at the top of this blog-post, you find a box large enough to fit your head for viewing. On one end of the box, inside, you place a white piece of typing, printer, or photocopy paper. At the other end of the box you cut-out a small hole, then cover the hole with aluminum foil, with a pinhole placed in the middle of the aluminum foil.

When standing with your back to the Sun, the Sun will shine through the pinhole and project a small image of the Sun on the white piece of paper. Do not expect a large or bright image of the Sun, since the pinhole cannot enlarge or brighten the image.

If you can use “Eclipse Glasses,” this is another safe way to look at the Sun, PROVIDED the Eclipse Glasses are genuine and undamaged. Unfortunately, there are some hucksters (particularly on the Internet) trying to sell unsafe glasses, which they call Eclipse Glasses. Before purchasing a pair of Eclipse Glasses, be sure they come from one of the vendors approved by the American Astronomical Society (AAS). Check this AAS web-site for a list of approved vendors:


Eclipse Glasses are fragile. Once you purchase Eclipse Glasses, you should handle them gently at all times. Click the following link for instructions on the proper way to handle and use Eclipse Glasses:


For many years, it has been said that Number 14 Welder's Glass (only the Number 14 rating of Welder's Glass is safe for eye-sight) can be used to safely view a Solar Eclipse / Eclipse of the Sun. Although there are no guarantees, Number 14 Welder's Glass (which are actually designed for welding jobs) may be safe for viewing an Eclipse. However, due to the great brightness of the Sun, Number 14 Welder's Glass may be uncomfortable to use for Eclipse viewing.

Internet Links to Additional Information ---

Great American Solar Eclipse:
Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium4.tripod.com/astrocalendar/2017.html#GASE

Solar Eclipse / Eclipse of the Sun: Tips for Safe Viewing:
Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/FAQ/soleclipse/solareclipseviewingtips.html

Eclipse: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eclipse

Solar Eclipse / Eclipse of the Sun: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_eclipse

Solar Corona: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corona

Solar Chromosphere: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chromosphere

Photos of New U.S. Postage Stamp Marking Great American Solar Eclipse:
Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2017/06/astronomical-calendar-2017-june.html

Solar Haiku (in anticipation of the Great American Solar Eclipse) By Diane Woodward Dorff:
Link >>>  http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/poetry/dorffd/solarhaiku.html

Historic 10-inch Siderostat-Type Refractor Telescope at Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science:
Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2016/11/75th-anniversary-americas-5th-public.html

Related Blog Posts ---

"Citizen Science: Aug. 21 Great American Solar Eclipse Mega-Movie Project."

2017 July 24.

Link >>> https://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2017/07/citizen-science-aug-21-great-american.html


"Strong Solar Flare Seen, Although Approaching Sunspot Minimum." 2017 July 15.

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2017/07/strong-solar-flare-seen-although.html

 

"Special Solar Eclipse Stamp to be Unveiled During Stonehenge-Type Solstice Event in Wyoming." 2017 June 19.

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2017/06/special-solar-eclipse-stamps-to-be.html

 

     Safe Public Viewing of the Great American Solar Eclipse
                         Monday, August 21, 2017
     Mt. Lebanon Public Library, South Suburban Pittsburgh
More Info: Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/archivenews/releases/poster-flyer/2017SolarEclipse-Flyer.htm


Source: Glenn A. Walsh Reporting for SpaceWatchtower, a project of Friends of the Zeiss.
             2017 August 14.

                             Like This Post? - Please Share!

            More Astronomy & Science News - SpaceWatchtower Twitter Feed:
            Link >>> https://twitter.com/spacewatchtower

        Astronomy & Science Links: Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#sciencelinks

                Want to receive SpaceWatchtower blog posts in your in-box ?
                Send request to < spacewatchtower@planetarium.cc >.

gaw

Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director, Friends of the Zeiss: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/ >
& SpaceWatchtower Editor / Author: < http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/weblog/spacewatchtower/gaw/ >
Electronic Mail - < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
Astronomy Links: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#astrolinks >
Science Links: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#sciencelinks >
SpaceWatchtower Twitter News Feed: < https://twitter.com/spacewatchtower >
SpaceWatchtower Blog: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
LibraryWatchtower Blog: < http://librarywatchtower.blogspot.com >
TransportWatchtower Blog: < http://transportwatchtower.blogspot.com  >
South Hills Backyard Astronomers Blog: < http://shbastronomers.blogspot.com/ >
Barnestormin Blog: Writing, Essays, Pgh. News, etc.: < http://www.barnestormin.blogspot.com/ >
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
  < http://www.planetarium.cc >
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
  < http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com >
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
  < http://johnbrashear.tripod.com >
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
  < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >
* Civil War Museum of Andrew Carnegie Free Library:
  < http://garespypost.tripod.com >
Duquesne Incline cable-car railway, Pittsburgh:
  < http://inclinedplane.tripod.com >
* Public Transit:
  < http://andrewcarnegie2.tripod.com/transit >

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Astronomical Calendar: 2017 August

http://andrewcarnegie2.tripod.com/SolarEclipseSafetyCanali.GIF
The Great American Solar Eclipse will cross the United States on Monday Afternoon, August 21, 2017. All areas of the United States will see the eclipse, although a Total Eclipse of the Sun will only be seen in a narrow band (approx. 70.8 statute miles / 114 kilometers in width) across the country from Oregon to South Carolina. NO PARTIAL PHASE OF ANY SOLAR ECLIPSE IS SAFE TO LOOK AT DIRECTLY, UNLESS YOU HAVE THE PROPER TRAINING AND PROPER EQUIPMENT TO DO SO SAFELY; OTHERWISE EYE-SIGHT COULD BE DAMAGED PERMANENTLY. This graphic shows one way to safely view the partial phases of a solar eclipse by building a Solar Pinhole Viewing Box as shown above. After building this box, you must turn your back to the Sun and allow the light from the Sun to go through the pinhole and shine on a white piece of paper on the other end of the box (NEVER LOOK THROUGH THE PINHOLE AT THE SUN!).
More information: Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium4.tripod.com/astrocalendar/2017.html#GASE
(Graphic Source: Eric G. Canali, former Floor Manager of Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science and Founder of the South Hills Backyard Astronomers amateur astronomy club.)

Astronomical Calendar for 2017 August: 
Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium4.tripod.com/astrocalendar/2017.html#aug

 Related Blog Post ---


"Astronomical Calendar: 2017 July." 2017 July 1.

Link >>> https://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2017/07/astronomical-calendar-2017-july.html


     Safe Public Viewing of the Great American Solar Eclipse
                         Monday, August 21, 2017
     Mt. Lebanon Public Library, South Suburban Pittsburgh
More Info: Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/archivenews/releases/poster-flyer/2017SolarEclipse-Flyer.htm

Source: Friends of the Zeiss.
              2017 August 1.

                             Like This Post? - Please Share!

            More Astronomy & Science News - SpaceWatchtower Twitter Feed:
            Link >>> https://twitter.com/spacewatchtower

        Astronomy & Science Links: Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#sciencelinks

                Want to receive SpaceWatchtower blog posts in your in-box ?
                Send request to < spacewatchtower@planetarium.cc >.

gaw

Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director, Friends of the Zeiss: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/ >
& SpaceWatchtower Editor / Author: < http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/weblog/spacewatchtower/gaw/ >
Electronic Mail - < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
Astronomy Links: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#astrolinks >
Science Links: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#sciencelinks >
SpaceWatchtower Twitter News Feed: < https://twitter.com/spacewatchtower >
SpaceWatchtower Blog: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
LibraryWatchtower Blog: < http://librarywatchtower.blogspot.com >
TransportWatchtower Blog: < http://transportwatchtower.blogspot.com  >
South Hills Backyard Astronomers Blog: < http://shbastronomers.blogspot.com/ >
Barnestormin Blog: Writing, Essays, Pgh. News, etc.: < http://www.barnestormin.blogspot.com/ >
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
  < http://www.planetarium.cc >
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
  < http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com >
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
  < http://johnbrashear.tripod.com >
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
  < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >
* Civil War Museum of Andrew Carnegie Free Library:
  < http://garespypost.tripod.com >
Duquesne Incline cable-car railway, Pittsburgh:
  < http://inclinedplane.tripod.com >
* Public Transit:
  < http://andrewcarnegie2.tripod.com/transit >

Monday, July 24, 2017

Citizen Science: Aug. 21 Great American Solar Eclipse Mega-Movie Project

https://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SEmono/TSE2017/TSE2017fig/TSE2017-usa.jpg
This map of the continental United States shows the path of totality for the Great American Solar Eclipse on August 21. While a Partial Eclipse of the Sun will be observable over all 48 states, only in the narrow band (approximately 70.8 miles / 114 kilometers in width) will a Total Solar Eclipse be seen. Only in this narrow area can photographs of the two-minute total eclipse phase be included in the Eclipse Mega-Movie. (Map Source: NASA, Courtesy of Fred Espenak MrEclipse.com)

By Glenn A. Walsh
Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

August 21 will be a special day in the United States, as the Great American Solar Eclipse will cross the entire country, from Oregon to South Carolina. Citizen Scientists (that is, all non-professionals interested in science who wish to assist scientists), who take photographs from inside the Eclipse path of totality, have the opportunity to help scientists learn more about the Solar Corona by submitting their Eclipse photos to the Eclipse Mega-Movie 2017 Project.

This is a unique opportunity for Citizen Scientists to help gather data on a part of the Sun that is rarely seen. The last time a Total Solar Eclipse crossed the United States was 99 years ago—on 1918 June 8. On that date, the Eclipse path of totality moved from Washington State across the country to Florida.

This is also the first time that Solar Eclipse totality has reached the continental United States since 1979 February 26. However, a Total Solar Eclipse did reach Hawaii on 1991 July 11. Most of the continental United States saw a Partial Eclipse of the Sun that day in 1991 (that was the last Solar Eclipse observed by the general public, using the historic 10-inch Siderostat-Type Refractor Telescope, at Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science).

The Solar Corona is an aura of plasma, the outer atmosphere, that surrounds the Sun and other stars, and extends millions of miles or kilometers into space from the Sun. During a Total Eclipse of the Sun, or Total Solar Eclipse, such as the Great American Solar Eclipse that will occur on August 21, the Solar Corona can be seen, safely, with the unaided eye—BUT ONLY in the narrow path of totality (with a width on August 21 of approximately 70.8 statute miles / 114 kilometers) and during the very short period of the total phase of the Eclipse (in most cases on August 21, a little over two minutes), when the rest of the Sun is completely blocked by the Moon. At all other times it is extremely dangerous to a person's eye-sight to look at the Sun without proper equipment and proper training to do so safely.

Since it is very difficult to study the Solar Corona, except during a Total Solar Eclipse, scientists want to take full advantage of the long stretch of time the Eclipse will be observed in the United States next month, due to the great length of the Eclipse path of totality across the country. The Eclipse Mega-Movie 2017 Project hopes to gather photographs during the totality stage of the Eclipse from more than a thousand photographers and astronomers, from coast-to-coast.

There will be two sets of volunteers for two separate mega-movies. One set of volunteers will be specially trained for photographing the event. The second set of volunteers will be anyone with a camera or a cellular-telephone camera that chooses to take pictures of the event.

Approximately 1,500 trained, volunteer observers will be photographing the Eclipse, from sites along the path of totality, using digital, single-lens reflex cameras and specially prepared telescopes. The photographs from these observers will provide the high-quality mega-movie, that should be available to be viewed by the public later this year.

A lower-quality mega-movie will be produced by the photographs submitted by people using a regular camera or cell-phone camera. Although not as high-quality, this mega-movie should be available for public release much sooner.

Anyone can use a free-of-charge Eclipse Mega-Movie Mobile App to participate in this 2017 Project. This smart-phone app can be obtained, now, at the Google Play Store (Internet link to this mobile app at the end of this blog-post); an iOS app will soon also be available.

In both cases, all photographs submitted will be stitched together to form a motion picture showing the Eclipse as it traveled across the country from the Pacific Coast to the Atlantic Coast. From these two mega-movies, scientists hope to learn more about the Solar Corona, possibly including its relationship with the Sun's Chromosphere, and how it changes over time. When completed, both mega-movies are expected to run approximately 90 minutes.

Remember, the whole idea is to obtain images of the Great American Solar Eclipse during the totality phase. Only photographs taken within the Eclipse path of totality, and during the total phase of the Eclipse (when the Moon completely blocks-out the solar disk), can be submitted for inclusion in the Eclipse Mega-Movie. It would be more dangerous to eye-sight to try to photograph any of the partial phases of this Eclipse, and photographs of the partial Eclipse phases cannot contribute to the Eclipse Mega-Movie 2017 Project!

The Eclipse Mega-Movie 2017 Project is sponsored by Google's Making and Science Initiative and the University of California at Berkeley's Space Science Laboratory, along with several other partners including the Astronomical Society of the Pacific and Lick Observatory. The 2017 Project is led by Scott McIntosh from the National Center for Atmospheric Research's High Altitude Observatory and Hugh Hudson from the University of California at Berkeley.

After 2017, the next major Total Eclipse of the Sun to travel in the continental United States will run from Texas to Maine on 2024 April 8. Plans are already being made for a 2024 Eclipse Mega-Movie Project.

Internet Links to Additional Information ---

Eclipse Mega-Movie Project: Link >>> https://eclipsemega.movie/

Eclipse Mega-Movie Mobile App:
Link >>> https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=ideum.com.megamovie

Great American Solar Eclipse of 2017 August 21:
Link 1 >>> https://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SEgoogle/SEgoogle2001/SE2017Aug21Tgoogle.html
Link 2 >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_eclipse_of_August_21,_2017

Solar Eclipse: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_eclipse

Solar Eclipse / Eclipse of the Sun: Tips for Safe Viewing:
Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/FAQ/soleclipse/solareclipseviewingtips.html

Solar Corona: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corona

Solar Chromosphere: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chromosphere

Solar Haiku By Diane Woodward Dorff:
Link >>>  http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/poetry/dorffd/solarhaiku.html

More Citizen Science Projects:
Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/FAQ/citizenscience.html

Historic 10-inch Siderostat-Type Refractor Telescope at Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science:
Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2016/11/75th-anniversary-americas-5th-public.html

Related Blog Posts ---

"Great American Solar Eclipse: More Citizen Science Projects." 2017 Aug. 18.

Link >>> https://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2017/08/great-american-solar-eclipse-more.html


"Strong Solar Flare Seen, Although Approaching Sunspot Minimum." 2017 July 15.

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2017/07/strong-solar-flare-seen-although.html


     Safe Public Viewing of the Great American Solar Eclipse
                         Monday, August 21, 2017
     Mt. Lebanon Public Library, South Suburban Pittsburgh
More Info: Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/archivenews/releases/poster-flyer/2017SolarEclipse-Flyer.htm


Source: Glenn A. Walsh Reporting for SpaceWatchtower, a project of Friends of the Zeiss.
             2017 July 24.

                             Like This Post? - Please Share!

            More Astronomy & Science News - SpaceWatchtower Twitter Feed:
            Link >>> https://twitter.com/spacewatchtower

        Astronomy & Science Links: Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#sciencelinks

                Want to receive SpaceWatchtower blog posts in your in-box ?
                Send request to < spacewatchtower@planetarium.cc >.

gaw

Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director, Friends of the Zeiss: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/ >
& SpaceWatchtower Editor / Author: < http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/weblog/spacewatchtower/gaw/ >
Electronic Mail - < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
Astronomy Links: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#astrolinks >
Science Links: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#sciencelinks >
SpaceWatchtower Twitter News Feed: < https://twitter.com/spacewatchtower >
SpaceWatchtower Blog: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
LibraryWatchtower Blog: < http://librarywatchtower.blogspot.com >
TransportWatchtower Blog: < http://transportwatchtower.blogspot.com  >
South Hills Backyard Astronomers Blog: < http://shbastronomers.blogspot.com/ >
Barnestormin Blog: Writing, Essays, Pgh. News, etc.: < http://www.barnestormin.blogspot.com/ >
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
  < http://www.planetarium.cc >
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
  < http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com >
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
  < http://johnbrashear.tripod.com >
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
  < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >
* Civil War Museum of Andrew Carnegie Free Library:
  < http://garespypost.tripod.com >
Duquesne Incline cable-car railway, Pittsburgh:
  < http://inclinedplane.tripod.com >
* Public Transit:
  < http://andrewcarnegie2.tripod.com/transit >

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Strong Solar Flare Seen, Although Approaching Sunspot Minimum

animation of SDO observations of a sunspot
A major Sunspot (AR2665) turns toward the Earth on July 13, after the Sun was spotless for two days. A powerful Solar Flare is now headed towards Earth, which will cause an atmospheric geomagnetic storm this weekend.
(Image Sources: NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center / NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory Satellite; Producer: Joy Ng)

By Glenn A. Walsh
Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

After turning towards the Earth in the last few days, large Sunspot AR2665 emitted a large solar flare late on Thursday (July 13). This is despite the fact that the Sun continues getting quieter as it approaches Solar Minimum, the nadir expected around 2019-2020.

This solar blast was observed by ultraviolet telescopes aboard NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory satellite in Earth orbit. The explosion lasted for more than two hours. It resulted in sustained X-Rays and energetic protons, emitted from the Sun, ionizing the upper layers of Earth's atmosphere. Consequently, there were short-wave radio blackouts over the Pacific Ocean, and particularly in the Arctic region. The explosion also produced a bright coronal mass ejection (CME) that appears headed for Earth.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), after evaluating late Thursday evening's (July 13, 10:09 p.m. EDT / July 14, 2:09 UTC) solar flare (M2-class) and CME, has issued a geomagnetic storm watch for July 16 and 17. Storms on both days are expected to be a moderately strong Category G2.

Aurora activity is also expected in the far northern and far southern latitudes, at around the same time. Aurora are natural light displays, visible at night mostly in the Arctic and Antarctic regions, caused when charged particles from the solar wind hit the Earth's magnetosphere.

Sunspots are large magnetic storms on the photosphere of the Sun. As the rotation of the Earth helps to mix the atmosphere causing normal weather storms on Earth, the rotation of the Sun (sidereal rotation rate of 24.47 days for one complete rotation) causes the complex magnetic fields to twist and form large storms we call sunspots.

Sunspots appear as dark spots on the Sun because these storms are cooler than the rest of the Sun's photosphere, but by no means are sunspots cold by our standards. The Sun's photosphere is a thin layer of the Sun's upper atmosphere where hot gases rise and give-off light and heat. The temperature of this photosphere is +10,000 degrees Fahrenheit / +5,700 degrees Celsius. The temperature of a sunspot is +6,400 degrees Fahrenheit / +3,500 degrees Celsius.

A geomagnetic storm is a disturbance in the portions of the Earth's upper atmosphere known as the magnetosphere and the ionosphere caused by a magnified solar wind of charged particles from the Sun. During a geomagnetic storm, energy from the Sun provides additional energy to Earth's magnetosphere, enlarging the magnetosphere. This often provides additional drag on satellites and space junk in low Earth orbit, limiting the amount of time the satellite and / or space junk stays in orbit.

A coronal mass ejection or CME is an unusually large ejection of plasma and magnetic field from the solar corona. The solar corona is an aura of plasma that surrounds the Sun and other stars, and extends millions of miles or kilometers into space from the Sun. During a Total Eclipse of the Sun, or Total Solar Eclipse, such as the Great American Solar Eclipse that will occur on August 21, the solar corona can be seen, safely, with the unaided eye—BUT ONLY in the narrow path of totality and during the very short period of the total phase of the eclipse, when the rest of the Sun is completely blocked by the Moon; at all other times it is extremely dangerous to a person's eye-sight to look at the Sun without proper equipment and proper training to do so safely.

This week's major solar activity is in sharp contrast to the waning days of this particular 11-year Sunspot Cycle, when visible sunspots have been few. Before Sunspot AR2665 rotated into view, the portion of the Sun facing the Earth went for two full days with no sunspots.

The period of relative calm on the Sun is known as the Sunspot Minimum or Solar Minimum portion of the 11-year Sunspot Cycle. NASA scientists now expect the Solar Minimum to occur in the time period around 2019-2020. The peak of the Sunspot Cycle seemed to occur in 2014, although recent Sunspot Cycles have not been as active as cycles in the past.

Although sunspots and other solar activity subside during the Solar Minimum, another solar phenomenon can be observed during this time period. Coronal holes often open-up at this time, allowing the Sun's magnetic field to emit streams of solar particles as a fast solar wind.

During Solar Minimum, Galactic cosmic rays, high energy particles from very distant supernova and other high-energy explosions, increasingly reach Earth's upper atmosphere. With a weakened solar magnetic field, there is less natural shielding from such cosmic rays for the Earth's upper atmosphere, which can adversely affect our astronauts in space.

Internet Links to Additional Information ---

Sunspots: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunspot

Solar Corona: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corona

Coronal Mass Ejection (CME): Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coronal_mass_ejection

Geomagnetic Storm: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geomagnetic_storm

Aurora: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aurora

NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory Satellite:
Link 1 >>> https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/sdo/main/index.html
Link 2 >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_Dynamics_Observatory

Solar Eclipse / Eclipse of the Sun: Tips for Safe Viewing:
Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/FAQ/soleclipse/solareclipseviewingtips.html

Related Blog Posts ---

"'Blank Sun' June 3 & 4 as Sunspot Minimum Expected 2019-2020." 2016 June 14.

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2016/06/blank-sun-june-3-4-as-sunspot-minimum.html

 

"Largest Sunspot in 24 Years Returns for 2nd Month." 2014 Nov. 23.

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2014/11/largest-sunspot-in-24-years-returns-for.html

 

"Sunspot Count Max Finally Arrives, But 'Mini-Max'." 2014 June 10.

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2014/06/sunspot-count-max-finally-arrives-but.html

 

"Huge Sunspot Group Faces Earth w/ X-Class Flares." 2013 Nov. 9.

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.de/2013/11/huge-sunspot-group-faces-earth-w-x.html

 

"Solar Cycle Update: Twin Peaks?" 2013 March 2.

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.sg/2013/03/solar-cycle-update-twin-peaks.html

 

"Colossal Sunspot Growing Fast, Solar Storms Possible." 2013 Feb. 21.

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2013/02/colossal-sunspot-growing-fast-solar.html

 

"Sunspot AR1654 Getting Bigger w/ Solar Flare." 2013 Jan. 12.

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2013/01/sunspot-ar1654-getting-bigger-w-solar.html

 

"Enormous Sunspot Could Lead to Solar Flares." 2012 May 9.

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.mx/2012/05/enormous-sunspot-could-lead-to-solar.html


     Safe Public Viewing of the Great American Solar Eclipse
                         Monday, August 21, 2017
     Mt. Lebanon Public Library, South Suburban Pittsburgh
More Info: Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/archivenews/releases/poster-flyer/2017SolarEclipse-Flyer.htm


Source: Glenn A. Walsh Reporting for SpaceWatchtower, a project of Friends of the Zeiss.
             2017 July 15.

                             Like This Post? - Please Share!

            More Astronomy & Science News - SpaceWatchtower Twitter Feed:
            Link >>> https://twitter.com/spacewatchtower

        Astronomy & Science Links: Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#sciencelinks

                Want to receive SpaceWatchtower blog posts in your in-box ?
                Send request to < spacewatchtower@planetarium.cc >.

gaw

Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director, Friends of the Zeiss: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/ >
& SpaceWatchtower Editor / Author: < http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/weblog/spacewatchtower/gaw/ >
Electronic Mail - < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
Astronomy Links: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#astrolinks >
Science Links: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#sciencelinks >
SpaceWatchtower Twitter News Feed: < https://twitter.com/spacewatchtower >
SpaceWatchtower Blog: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
LibraryWatchtower Blog: < http://librarywatchtower.blogspot.com >
TransportWatchtower Blog: < http://transportwatchtower.blogspot.com  >
South Hills Backyard Astronomers Blog: < http://shbastronomers.blogspot.com/ >
Barnestormin Blog: Writing, Essays, Pgh. News, etc.: < http://www.barnestormin.blogspot.com/ >
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
  < http://www.planetarium.cc >
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
  < http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com >
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
  < http://johnbrashear.tripod.com >
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
  < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >
* Civil War Museum of Andrew Carnegie Free Library:
  < http://garespypost.tripod.com >
Duquesne Incline cable-car railway, Pittsburgh:
  < http://inclinedplane.tripod.com >
* Public Transit:
  < http://andrewcarnegie2.tripod.com/transit >

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Astronomical Calendar: 2017 July

Astronomers have slammed the Mayak satellite (pictured), which is no larger than a rugby ball, calling it a 'nonsense' project that could 'ruin' dark skies for everyone170630-mayak-satellite-feature-image
The launch of a Russian crowd-funded satellite, called Mayak, is expected on July 14. The purpose of the small, but very bright, satellite is to test how to brake satellites and de-orbit such satellites. However, astronomers are complaining that this satellite will contribute to light pollution in the night sky, as it is expected to be as bright as the third or fourth brightest object in the sky.
More info: Link >>> http://nypost.com/2017/06/30/russian-satellite-to-be-one-of-the-brightest-objects-in-the-night-sky/ (Image Source: Mayak Project)

Astronomical Calendar for 2017 July: 
Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium4.tripod.com/astrocalendar/2017.html#jul

 Related Blog Post ---


"Astronomical Calendar: 2017 June." 2017 June 1.

Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium4.tripod.com/astrocalendar/2017.html#jun


     Safe Public Viewing of the Great American Solar Eclipse
                         Monday, August 21, 2017
     Mt. Lebanon Public Library, South Suburban Pittsburgh
More Info: Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/archivenews/releases/poster-flyer/2017SolarEclipse-Flyer.htm

Source: Friends of the Zeiss.
              2017 July 1.

                             Like This Post? - Please Share!

            More Astronomy & Science News - SpaceWatchtower Twitter Feed:
            Link >>> https://twitter.com/spacewatchtower

        Astronomy & Science Links: Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#sciencelinks

                Want to receive SpaceWatchtower blog posts in your in-box ?
                Send request to < spacewatchtower@planetarium.cc >.

gaw

Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director, Friends of the Zeiss: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/ >
& SpaceWatchtower Editor / Author: < http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/weblog/spacewatchtower/gaw/ >
Electronic Mail - < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
Astronomy Links: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#astrolinks >
Science Links: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#sciencelinks >
SpaceWatchtower Twitter News Feed: < https://twitter.com/spacewatchtower >
SpaceWatchtower Blog: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
LibraryWatchtower Blog: < http://librarywatchtower.blogspot.com >
TransportWatchtower Blog: < http://transportwatchtower.blogspot.com  >
South Hills Backyard Astronomers Blog: < http://shbastronomers.blogspot.com/ >
Barnestormin Blog: Writing, Essays, Pgh. News, etc.: < http://www.barnestormin.blogspot.com/ >
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
  < http://www.planetarium.cc >
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
  < http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com >
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
  < http://johnbrashear.tripod.com >
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
  < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >
* Civil War Museum of Andrew Carnegie Free Library:
  < http://garespypost.tripod.com >
Duquesne Incline cable-car railway, Pittsburgh:
  < http://inclinedplane.tripod.com >
* Public Transit:
  < http://andrewcarnegie2.tripod.com/transit >

Monday, June 19, 2017

Special Solar Eclipse Stamp to be Unveiled During Stonehenge-Type Solstice Event in Wyoming

   http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/pix/graphics/solsticeimage008.png
This diagram shows the position of the Earth, in relation to the Sun, at the time of the Summer Solstice, as well as the other solstice and equinoxes of the year.
(Graphic Source: ©1999, Eric G. Canali, former Floor Manager of Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science and Founder of the South Hills Backyard Astronomers amateur astronomy club; permission granted for only non-profit use with credit to author.)


By Glenn A. Walsh
Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

This year in North America, the Summer Solstice occurs both on Tuesday and Wednesday, depending on which time zone is being considered. On Tuesday, the Summer Solstice is being celebrated in Wyoming, by the U.S. Post Office, by the unveiling of a very special postage stamp to commemorate the Great American Solar Eclipse which will occur on August 21. This unveiling will occur following a rather unique, Stonehenge-like Solstice event! And on Wednesday, NASA will hold a news conference, which can be seen on NASA-TV (including on the Internet), regarding the Great American Solar Eclipse.

                                                         Summer Solstice 2017

For 2017, the season of Summer begins in Earth's Northern Hemisphere (and the season of Winter begins in the Southern Hemisphere) at the moment of the June Solstice: Wednesday Morning, 2017 June 21 at 12:24 a.m. Eastern Daylight Saving Time (EDT) / 4:24 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).

Now in North America, the Summer Solstice occurs early Wednesday morning only in the Eastern and Atlantic Time Zones, according to Daylight Saving Time. Elsewhere in North America, the Summer Solstice occurs late Tuesday evening.

In etymology, the word solstice comes from the Latin terms sol (Sun) and sistere (to stand still). In ancient times, astronomers / astrologers / priests recognized that on one day of the year (in the Northern Hemisphere, near the day we now call June 21), the Sun would appear to reach its highest point in the sky for the year. The motion of the Sun's apparent path in the sky (what is known astronomically, today, as the Sun's declination) would cease on this day, before appearing to reverse direction.

Today, we know that, while the Sun does have motions, it is actually the motion of the Earth tilted on its axis 23.43715 degrees / 23 degrees 26 minutes 13.7 seconds away from the plane of the ecliptic (Earth's orbital plane around the Sun), while revolving around the Sun, that causes the Earth's seasons. Hence, as the Earth arrives at the point in its orbit around the Sun, when the north polar axis is most directly inclined toward the Sun, this marks the Summer Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere and the Winter Solstice in the Southern Hemisphere.

Alternately, the Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere occurs when the Earth reaches the point in its orbit when the North Pole is most directly inclined away from the Sun. And, conversely, at this time Summer begins in the planet's Southern Hemisphere.

Although the Summer months in the Northern Hemisphere are known for the year's warmest weather, the Earth is actually at the point in its orbit farthest from the Sun (astronomically known as the point of aphelion) around July 5; the Earth's closest approach to the Sun (perihelion) each year is around January 2. Solar radiation, and hence the heat from the Sun, depends on the length of daylight and the angle of the Sun above the horizon. The tilt of the planet's axis toward the Sun determines the additional and more direct solar radiation received by a planet's Northern or Southern Hemisphere, and hence, the warmer season of the respective hemisphere.

The Vernal Equinox, when the season of Spring begins in the Northern Hemisphere (and the season of Autumn begins in the Southern Hemisphere), occurs between the Winter and Summer Solstices when the Earth reaches the point in its orbit around the Sun when the Earth's axis is inclined neither toward nor away from the Sun. Likewise, when the Earth reaches the point in its orbit around the Sun, between the Summer and Winter Solstices, when the Earth's axis is inclined neither toward nor away from the Sun, this is known as the Autumnal Equinox (beginning of Fall or Autumn) in the Northern Hemisphere; at this time Spring begins in the Southern Hemisphere. And, half-way between the beginning points of each season are Cross-Quarter Days, each related to traditional holidays: Groundhog Day (February 2), May Day (May 1), Lammas Day (traditionally, the first harvest festival of the year on August 1), and Halloween (October 31).

In ancient times, the Summer Solstice was known as Midsummer Day, in early calendars observed around June 24. Such early European celebrations were pre-Christian in origin. Many will associate this ancient holiday with the famous William Shakespeare play, “A Midsummer Night's Dream.” Some speculate that the play was written for the Queen of England, to celebrate the Feast Day of Saint John.

As with the Roman Catholic Church's decision to Christianize the pagan Winter Solstice festivals with the introduction of Christmas Day on December 25, the Church began to associate the Midsummer festivals with the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist on June 24. In the Bible, the Gospel of Saint Luke implies that John was born six months before the birth of Jesus, although no specific birth dates are given.

             Unveiling of Great American Solar Eclipse Postage Stamp (#EclipseStamps)

                         Solar eclipse Forever stamps

On June 20, the U.S. Postal Service issues a unique postage stamp (Forever Stamp) marking the Great American Solar Eclipse (which will cross the continental United States from Oregon to South Carolina on August 21) at the University of Wyoming Art Museum. A first-of-a-kind stamp, the heat from the touch of a finger transforms the eclipsed Moon into the image of the Moon!

The postage stamp unveiling will occur at the Art Museum on the campus of the University of Wyoming (UW) in Laramie, Wyoming at 1:30 p.m. Mountain Daylight Saving Time (MDT) / 3:30 p.m. EDT / 19:30 UTC. The Post Office asks the public to share this news on Social Media, using the hash-tag #EclipseStamps.

The reason the U.S. Postal Service chose this particular Art Museum for the postage stamp unveiling is due to a rather unique, Stonehenge-like event that occurs each year at this museum, around the time of the Summer Solstice. An hour and a-half before the unveiling, on that Tuesday at 12:00 Noon MDT / 2:00 p.m. EDT / 18:00 UTC, visitors can see a single beam of sunlight shining on a Silver Dollar embedded in the floor of the UW Art Museum's Rotunda Gallery. Visitors are encouraged to arrive at the museum by 11:30 a.m. MDT / 1:30 p.m. EDT / 17:30 UTC, to view this rather unique architectural feature.

                           Countdown to the Great American Solar Eclipse

On the day of the Summer Solstice, Wednesday, June 21, 1:00 to 3:30 p.m. EDT / 17:00 to 19:30 UTC, NASA will hold a news conference regarding the Great American Solar Eclipse, which will be exactly two months from June 21. During the news conference, which can be seen on NASA-TV on cable television or streamed on the Internet, people can learn about:

  • How to experience the August 2017 eclipse through the eyes of NASA
  • Views from different areas of the country and how to prepare
  • Safe eclipse viewing practices
  • What causes an eclipse and why you should care
  • How to participate in events around the country
  • The unique research opportunities to study our Earth, moon and the sun
 Internet Link to NASA-TV: Link >>> https://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/
 
Internet Links to Additional Information ---

Special U.S. Postage Stamps Commemorating the Great American Solar Eclipse on August 21:
Link >>> https://about.usps.com/news/national-releases/2017/pr17_020.htm

Great American Solar Eclipse (Oregon to South Carolina) on August 21:
Link 1 >>> https://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SEgoogle/SEgoogle2001/SE2017Aug21Tgoogle.html
Link 2 >>> https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/
Link 3 >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_eclipse_of_August_21,_2017

Safe Public Viewing Event of the August 21 Great American Solar Eclipse in South Suburban Pittsburgh:
Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/archivenews/releases/poster-flyer/2017SolarEclipse-Flyer.htm

Solar Eclipse / Eclipse of the Sun - Tips for Safe Viewing:
Link >>> http://andrewcarnegie.tripod.com/solflyer2.htm

More on the Summer Solstice -
Link 1 >>> http://scienceworld.wolfram.com/astronomy/SummerSolstice.html
Link 2 >>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Summer_solstice

More on the Season of Summer: Link >>>
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Summer

More on the history of Midsummer: Link >>>
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midsummer

Summer "Solstice Day" Annual Free-of-Charge Day, 1985 to 1991, at Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science (a.k.a. Buhl Science Center):

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2015/06/snowballs-on-first-day-of-summer.html

     Safe Public Viewing of the Great American Solar Eclipse
                         Monday, August 21, 2017
     Mt. Lebanon Public Library, South Suburban Pittsburgh
More Info: Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/archivenews/releases/poster-flyer/2017SolarEclipse-Flyer.htm


Special Thanks:
* John Sibenac, producer of bookmarkers from postage stamps.
* Eric G. Canali, former Floor Manager of Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science and Founder of the South Hills Backyard Astronomers amateur astronomy club.

Source: Glenn A. Walsh Reporting for SpaceWatchtower, a project of Friends of the Zeiss.
             2017 June 19.

                             Like This Post? - Please Share!

            More Astronomy & Science News - SpaceWatchtower Twitter Feed:
            Link >>> https://twitter.com/spacewatchtower

        Astronomy & Science Links: Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#sciencelinks

                Want to receive SpaceWatchtower blog posts in your in-box ?
                Send request to < spacewatchtower@planetarium.cc >.

gaw

Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director, Friends of the Zeiss: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/ >
& SpaceWatchtower Editor / Author: < http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/weblog/spacewatchtower/gaw/ >
Electronic Mail - < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
Astronomy Links: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#astrolinks >
Science Links: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#sciencelinks >
SpaceWatchtower Twitter News Feed: < https://twitter.com/spacewatchtower >
SpaceWatchtower Blog: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
LibraryWatchtower Blog: < http://librarywatchtower.blogspot.com >
TransportWatchtower Blog: < http://transportwatchtower.blogspot.com  >
South Hills Backyard Astronomers Blog: < http://shbastronomers.blogspot.com/ >
Barnestormin Blog: Writing, Essays, Pgh. News, etc.: < http://www.barnestormin.blogspot.com/ >
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
  < http://www.planetarium.cc >
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
  < http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com >
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
  < http://johnbrashear.tripod.com >
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
  < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >
* Civil War Museum of Andrew Carnegie Free Library:
  < http://garespypost.tripod.com >
Duquesne Incline cable-car railway, Pittsburgh:
  < http://inclinedplane.tripod.com >
* Public Transit:
  < http://andrewcarnegie2.tripod.com/transit >