Posts Tagged ‘Earth’

30 July

Is “Observing Total Solar Eclilpse on Aug. 21, 2017” Part of Your Bucket List?


Dear Friends, Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

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Below, is a re-post from our sister publication, Windermere Sun (of July 25, 2017):

A total solar eclipse occurs when the Moon completely covers the Sun’s disk, as seen in this 1999 solar eclipse. Solar prominences can be seen along the limb (in red) as well as extensive coronal filaments.(Photo Attribution: I, Luc Viatour, Presented at:

Dear Friends & Neighbors,

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Chart for Solar Eclipse (Attribution: Eclipse Predictions by Fred Espenak, NASA’s GSFC, Presented at:

Map of Solar Eclipse (presented at:

Map of the Solar Eclipse 2017 USA (created with Eclipse 2017 Android App, Geodata from OpenStreetMap (Attribution: Wolfganag Strickling, Presented at:

Windermere Blue Sunset (credit: Windermere Sun-Susan Sun Nunamaker)

(Please click on red links & note magenta)

How many of you have “observing a Total Solar Eclipse” on your bucket list? Did you know that a total solar eclipse will occur on Monday, August 21, 2017? It will be visible in totality only within a band across the entire contiguous United States ( covering: Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina). The last time a total solar eclipse was visible across the entire contiguous United States was during the June 8, 1918 eclipse.

Map of the Solar Eclipse 2017 USA (created with Eclipse 2017 Android App, Geodata from OpenStreetMap (Attribution: Wolfganag Strickling, Presented at:, covering: Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina

A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between Earth and the Sun, thereby totally or partly obscuring the image of the Sun for a viewer on Earth. A total solar eclipse occurs when the Moon’s apparent diameter is larger than the Sun’s, blocking all direct sunlight, turning day into darkness. Totality occurs in a narrow path across Earth’s surface, with the partial solar eclipse visible over a surrounding region thousands of kilometers wide. This eclipse is the 22nd of the 77 members of Saros series 145, which also produced the solar eclipse of August 11, 1999. Members of this series are increasing in duration. The longest eclipse in this series will occur on June 25, 2522 and last for 7 minutes and 12 seconds.

The total eclipse will have a magnitude of 1.0306 and will be visible from a narrow corridor through the United States. It will be first seen from land in the US shortly after 10:15 a.m. PDT at Oregon’s Pacific coast, and then it will progress eastward through Salem, OR, Casper, WY, Lincoln, NE, Kansas City, Nashville, TN, Columbia, SC, and finally Charleston, SC. Total Solar Eclipse will darken skies all the way from Oregon to South Carolina, along a stretch of land about 70 miles (113 kilometers) wide. People who descend upon this “path of totality” for the big event are in for an unforgettable experience. A partial eclipse will be seen for a greater time period, beginning shortly after 9:00 a.m. PDT along the Pacific Coast of Oregon.

The longest duration of totality will be 2 minutes 41.6 seconds at about 37°35′0″N 89°7′0″W in Giant City State Park, just south of Carbondale, Illinois, and the greatest extent (width) will be at 36°58′0″N 87°40′18″W near the village of Cerulean, Kentucky, located in between Hopkinsville, KY and Princeton, KY. This will be the first total solar eclipse visible from the Southeastern United States since the solar eclipse of March 7, 1970, which was only visible from Florida.



A partial solar eclipse will be seen from the much broader path of the Moon‘s penumbra, including all of North America, northern South America, Western Europe, and some of Africa.

The August 2017 eclipse will be the first with a path of totality crossing the US’s Pacific coast and Atlantic coast since 1918. Also, its path of totality makes landfall exclusively within the United States, making it the first such eclipse since the country’s independence in 1776. (The path of totality of the eclipse of June 13, 1257, was the last to make landfall exclusively on lands currently part of the US.

If you are interested in observing this event (total Solar Eclipse), below, in italics, is excerpt from “Eye Safety During Solar Eclipses” from NASA:

The Sun can be viewed safely with the naked eye only during the few brief seconds or minutes of a total solar eclipse. Partial eclipses, annular eclipses, and the partial phases of total eclipses are never safe to watch without taking special precautions. Even when 99% of the Sun’s surface is obscured during the partial phases of a total eclipse, the remaining photospheric crescent is intensely bright and cannot be viewed safely without eye protection [Chou, 1981; Marsh, 1982]. Do not attempt to observe the partial or annular phases of any eclipse with the naked eye. Failure to use appropriate filtration may result in permanent eye damage or blindness!

Generally, the same equipment, techniques and precautions used to observe the Sun outside of eclipse are required for annular eclipses and the partial phases of total eclipses [Reynolds & Sweetsir, 1995; Pasachoff & Covington, 1993; Pasachoff & Menzel, 1992; Sherrod, 1981]. The safest and most inexpensive of these methods is by projection, in which a pinhole or small opening is used to cast the image of the Sun on a screen placed a half-meter or more beyond the opening. Projected images of the Sun may even be seen on the ground in the small openings created by interlacing fingers, or in the dappled sunlight beneath a leafy tree. Binoculars can also be used to project a magnified image of the Sun on a white card, but you must avoid the temptation of using these instruments for direct viewing.

The Sun can be viewed directly only when using filters specifically designed for this purpose. Such filters usually have a thin layer of aluminum, chromium or silver deposited on their surfaces that attenuates ultraviolet, visible, and infrared energy. One of the most widely available filters for safe solar viewing is a number 14 welder’s glass, available through welding supply outlets. More recently, aluminized mylar has become a popular, inexpensive alternative. Mylar can easily be cut with scissors and adapted to any kind of box or viewing device. A number of sources for solar filters are listed below. No filter is safe to use with any optical device (i.e. – telescope, binoculars, etc.) unless it has been specifically designed for that purpose. Experienced amateur and professional astronomers may also use one or two layers of completely exposed and fully developed black-and-white film, provided the film contains a silver emulsion. Since all developed color films lack silver, they are always unsafe for use in solar viewing.

Unsafe filters include color film, some non-silver black and white film, medical x-ray films with images on them, smoked glass, photographic neutral density filters and polarizing filters. Solar filters designed to thread into eyepieces which are often sold with inexpensive telescopes are also dangerous. They should not be used for viewing the Sun at any time since they often crack from overheating. Do not experiment with other filters unless you are certain that they are safe. Damage to the eyes comes predominantly from invisible infrared wavelengths. The fact that the Sun appears dark in a filter or that you feel no discomfort does not guarantee that your eyes are safe. Avoid all unnecessary risks. Your local planetarium or amateur astronomy club is a good source for additional information.

In spite of these precautions, the total phase (and only the total phase) of an eclipse can and should be viewed without filters. It is crucial that you know when to take off and put back on your glasses; see Eye safety during a total solar eclipse

Total Eclipse Viewing Events (source: wkipedia), below:




  • Casper, Wyoming – The Astronomical League, an alliance of amateur astronomy clubs, will hold its annual Astrocon conference, and there will be other public events, called Wyoming Eclipse Festival 2017.






North Carolina


  • Rabun County, Georgia – Multiple events occur across Rabun County, including the OutASight Total Solar Eclipse Viewing Party with astronomers from Georgia State University. Other events will be held at Tallulah Gorge State Park, Black Rock Mountain State Park, and other locations in the county.

South Carolina

Viewing from outside the United States


A partial eclipse will be visible across the width of Canada, ranging from 89% in Victoria, British Columbia to 11% in Resolute, Nunavut.

Central America, Mexico, Caribbean islands

A partial eclipse will be visible from Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean islands.


The boundaries of the sunset partial eclipse in Western Europe. Calculation with EclipseDroid with atmospheric refraction.

In northwestern Europe, the eclipse will only be visible as a partial eclipse, in the evening or at sunset. Only Iceland, Ireland and Scotland will see the eclipse from beginning to end; in the rest of the UK, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Spain and Portugal, sunset will occur before the end of the eclipse. In Germany, the beginning of the eclipse will be potentially visible just at sunset only in the extreme northwest of the country. In all regions east of the orange line in the map, the eclipse will be invisible.

Online Viewing Events


Gathered, written, and posted by Windermere Sun-Susan Sun Nunamaker
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29 April

Solar Eclipse of April 29, 2014


Dear Friends, Visitors/Viewers/Readers, (Please click on red links below),

At the right spot in Anatarctica or Australia, one could see an annular eclipse of the sun-sometimes called a ring of fire eclipse of the sun, on April 29, 2014.   This is a quick post about that annular solar eclipse, below:

Annular Solar Eclipse of April 29, 2014 (credit: wikimedia commons, Attribution: Eclipse Predictions by Fred Espenak, NASA's GSFC, ATTRIBUTION; PD-USGOV-NASA)

Annular Solar Eclipse of April 29, 2014 in Eclipse During 2014-Observer’s Handbook-2014, Royal Astroonomical Society of Canada (<—-click twice to view)

An annular solar eclipse occurred on April 29, 2014. A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between Earth and the Sun, thereby totally or partly obscuring the image of the Sun for a viewer on Earth. An annular solar eclipse occurs when the Moon’s apparent diameter is smaller than the Sun’s, blocking most of the Sun’s light and causing the Sun to look like an annulus (ring). An annular eclipse appears as a partial eclipse over a region of the Earth thousands of kilometres wide.

The center of the moon‘s shadow misses the south Pole of the Earth, but the partial eclipse is visible from parts of Antarctica and Australia.

Animated Path of Solar Eclipse of April 29, 2014 (credit: wikimedia commons)

Annularity from Antarctica-simulated view (credit: wikimedia commons)


~have a bright and sunny day~

Gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

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20 August

The Most Intensely Heated & Dangerous Relationship Research Project:Improving Earth’s Future Environment-Radiation Belt Storm Probes (RBSP) & Green Fuels


Dear Friends, Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

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Due to our previous series of discussion concerning Mars Science Lab-Curiosity Rover and its fuel source, I got curious and looked up the next launch/mission scheduled at NASA and found RBSP, Radiation Belt Storm Probes.

RBSP probe with booms and instrument arrays extended (Credit: JHUAPL)

RBSP is scheduled to launch on Friday, August 24, 2012, 4:07-4:27 a.m. EDT (delayed by 24 hours from the previously scheduled August 23, 2012) and is a NASA mission under the Living With a Star geospace program (managed by Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt) to explore fundamental processes that operate throughout the solar system (in particular, those that generate hazardous space weather effects near the Earth and phenomenon that could affect solar system exploration).  The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab (JHUAPL) manages the mission and is building and will operate the RBSP spacecraft for NASA.  The probes will study dynamic regions of space known as the Van Allen Radiation Belt

RBSP mission will study the Van Allen Radiation Belt (Credit: JHUAPL)

that surround Earth.

Van Allen Radiation Belts are the result of interaction of the Sun and the Earth's magnetic field (Credit: JHUAPL)

The two RBSP leaving Earth (Credit: JHUAPL)

Understanding the radiation belt environment and its variability has important practical applications in the areas of spacecraft operations, spacecraft system design, mission planning, and astronaut safety.  I implore/welcome your clicking of red links above for better understanding of Van Allen Radiation Belt and these programs. Also, please view the video below explaining Radiation Belt Storm Probe by NASA project scientist David Sibeck:


The Van Allen Radiation Belt swell and shrink over time as part of a much larger space weather system driven by energy and material that erupt off the Sun’s surface and fill the entire Solar System. Space weather is the source of aurora that shimmer in the night sky, but it also can disrupt satellites, cause power grid failures and disrupt GPS communications. RBSP will help scientists to understand this region and to better design spacecraft that can survive the rigors of outer space.   The mission is to gain scientific understanding of how populations of relativistic electrons and ions in space form or change in response to changes in solar activity and the solar wind.With the help of Wikipedia, one finds that the mission’s general scientific objectives are to:

  1. Discover which processes – singly or in combination – accelerate and transport the particles in the radiation belt, and under what conditions.
  2. Understand and quantify the loss of electrons from the radiation belts.
  3. Determine the balance between the processes that cause electron acceleration and those that cause losses.
  4. Understand how the radiation belts change in the context of geomagnetic storms.

RBSP consists of two spin-stabilized spacecraft to be launched with a single Atlas V rocket. The two probes

Details of RBSP (Credit: JHUAPL)

Two RBSP's separating after launch (Credit: JHUAPL)

must operate in the harsh conditions they are studying; while other satellites have the luxury of turning off or protecting themselves in the middle of intense space weather, RBSP must continue to collect data. The probes have, therefore, been built to withstand the constant bombardment of particles and radiation they will experience in this intense area of space.

I am also happy to report that no plutonium-238 will be used for Atlas V rocket (using kerosene, liquid oxygen, liquid hydrogen) or RBSP probes.  As a matter of fact, NASA intends to eventually replace the highly toxic fuel hydrazine by starting a new era of innovative and non-toxic green fuels that are less harmful to our environment, with fewer operational hazards and lower complexity and cost of launch processing.  For more detailed information about these future “green” propellant technology, please refer to this link (<– click)

~have a bright and sunny day~

Gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker,

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21 March

Did You See The Supermoon on Saturday?


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Did you see the beautiful Red Moon on Saturday? I had to squeeze this post in before continuing our discussion from previous post because of a rather historical event that occurred on Saturday, March 19, 2011.  According to NASA, Saturday’s full moon looked about 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter than a normal full moon (hence Supermoon), as it was about 31,000 miles closer to Earth than when it is at the farthest point of its orbit.  The name SuperMoon was coined by astrologer Richard Nolle in 1979.   The last supermoon occurred 18 years ago and the next one won’t happen until 2029. Did you know that moonlight is simply the reflected light from the sun?  So when the Earth, the Moon, and the Sun are perfectly aligned, we earthlings would actually see the moon as a Red Moon.

A perigee-syzygy or “supermoon” is a full or new moon that coincides with a close approach by the Moon to the Earth. The Moon’s distance varies each month between approximately 357,000 kilometers (222,000 mi) and 406,000 km (252,000 mi) due to its elliptical orbit around the Earth (distances given are center-to-center).

Now, please allow me to share some wonderful photos and a video link for you:

A supermoon image of March 19, 2011

The supermoon of March 19, 2011 (on right) compared to a more average moon of December 20, 2010 (on left).


There is also a pretty good link/video clip by NASA on Supermoon at the site:


A NASA image of the perigee moon of March 19, 2011, over Washington D.C. near the Lincoln Memorial

March 2011 supermoon rising over the Atlantic Ocean

We will continue our discussion on availability of solar radiation, looking at data and map, in my next blog.  Thank you for your patience.  Posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker


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