Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Very Cool Solar Eclipse - live blogging the live webcast

The live webcast of the solar eclipse from Side, Turkey is very exciting (thanks to the Exploratorium). As I said last night, I wish I was there.

Everyone watching the sun in the video reminds me of the Transit of Venus trip that we took to Sharm-el-Sheikh (at the tip of the Sinai peninsula in Egypt) in June of 2004. The webcasters have shown their video setup with cameras with several different filters, plain white light, hydrogen alpha - which looks red and lets you see the flares and prominences, and calcium K - which looks blue and sees a different layer of the sun. A typical visual filter is metallized Mylar and looks a potato chip bag, because it needs to block a lot of light.

Through the variety of cameras they are showing the moon move to covering the sun completely, but also pointing out sunspots in both visual light ( they look dark) and hydrogen alpha (they look white). There aren't many because we are at solar minimum. They are also using extremely low tech solar cardboard viewers to watch the eclipse approach totality. Even the mayor of Side, Turkey has been on to host the group.

We are at totality and there is a beautiful corona of a quiet sun. (~5:55am EDST)

Start planning now for the total solar eclipse that will cross the United States - August 21st, 2017.

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