Sudden darkness two Augusts ahead

A look-forward to next year’s great eclipse.  Here is the sky as seen in the middle of it, from the middle of the USA, at 2017 August 21, 18:25 Universal Time (1:25 PM Central “Daylight-Saving” Time).

Ec;ipse 2017 August 21 sky view

The Moon and the Sun (shown in their positions over the week leading to the eclipse, as well as at eclipse moment itself) are exaggerated 4 times in size, so the star Regulus – only a degree from them – is not actually eclipsed itself but may be findable within the streamers of the Sun’s corona!

And here is a 3-D view of the planets’ motions in that August, and Earth’s sightlines toward them, to explain why they appear as they do, almost symmetrically on either side of the Sun in the eerily darkened sky:

Eclipse 2017 August 21, planet motions

These and other illustrations are for the pages on the 2017 cross-USA eclipse that will be part of the new edition of my Under-Standing of Eclipses, to be ready before long, I hope.  It is because of working on them, and other becauses, that I neglected to remind you about the opposition of Saturn on June 3, and Mercury’s morning appearance, at its modest highest yesterday.  But you have all this in Astronomical Calendar 2016.  (If you don’t, there is now a limited quantity left.)


3 thoughts on “Sudden darkness two Augusts ahead”

  1. Oh,,,, I am SO looking forward to this one… Will only have to drive south into the path of totality, with so many friends and relatives in the way. No need for passports, on my own wheels so last minute transport will be possible.. Brings back so many memories of so many others,,,,, two messed up by pre determination of ‘Ideal Spots’ which ended up being disasters..
    Maybe i’ll even see you in SC, Guy,,, that would be awesome!

  2. I’m looking forward to the new edition, and to the eclipse! My astronomy club will be in Jackson, Wyoming.

  3. The Astronomical League will be holding its annual convention, ALCon, in the days leading up to the eclipse in Casper, Wyoming, which lies directly on the center line. It will be a fun time for discovering amateur astronomy!

    Remember, a total solar eclipse also means no moon at night, giving dark skies! Wyoming is not heavily populated and has an abundance of dark skies to enjoy.

Write a comment