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GrapesOfWrath
2002-Jan-10, 02:40 PM
When I first started looking at the night skies with binoculars, I found it very easy to see both Uranus and Neptune. They were fairly close together, and both easily seen from my suburban skies. About seven years ago, Uranus and Neptune had been very close, within an arcdegree of each other. This won't happen again until the year 2165, and I missed it.

Uranus has an orbital period of about 84 years, and Neptune is almost double that, 165 years. By the time Uranus makes the complete orbit, Neptune has moved half way around away.

MongotheGreat
2002-Jan-10, 02:58 PM
When I was in sixth grade, there was a total solar ecclipse, I believe, in which our town was in its path. This was around 1995. We were in school at the time, but the school did nothing to let us view this. They held us inside and even cancelled outside gym classes for that day. I geuss they didn't want anyone hurting their eyes. I desparately wanted to see it. I now consider it gross malfeasence on the school's part for letting this extremely rare educational opportunity slip by. I did manage to sneak a naked eye view by leaning out the window when the teacher had left the room. I caught a glimpse of about a third of the sun covered by the disc of the moon. It certainly left the impression on my retinas. But, I had to see it. You all understand.

Mongo

GrapesOfWrath
2002-Jan-10, 03:11 PM
The annular eclipse of May 10, 1994 (http://sunearth.gsfc.nasa.gov/eclipse/SEplot/SEplot1951/SE1994May10A.gif) went right through Indiana--and was even at greatest eclipse there, apparently about 95 percent.

The total eclipse of Feb. 26, 1979 (http://sunearth.gsfc.nasa.gov/eclipse/SEplot/SEplot1951/SE1979Feb26T.gif) went through Montana. I was living in southern Wyoming at the time, but didn't go see it--had to teach in the morning. I think it was a Monday.

ToSeek
2002-Jan-10, 03:33 PM
The total eclipse of 1970 (http://sunearth.gsfc.nasa.gov/eclipse/SEplot/SEplot1951/SE1970Mar07T.gif) passed just a couple hundred miles east of where I was living. But would my parents drive me to see totality? No!

Actually what I really regret missing most is a Saturn V liftoff. That's my parents' fault, too.

ToSeek
Who is not bitter. Really.

MongotheGreat
2002-Jan-10, 03:45 PM
On 2002-01-10 10:11, GrapesOfWrath wrote:
The annular eclipse of May 10, 1994 (http://sunearth.gsfc.nasa.gov/eclipse/SEplot/SEplot1951/SE1994May10A.gif) went right through Indiana--and was even at greatest eclipse there, apparently about 95 percent.



My memory apparently didn't serve me as well as I had thought. This was before I was really into astronomy. I just knew that I had a chance to see something very rare and I was missing it.
Thanks,
Mongo

The Bad Astronomer
2002-Jan-10, 04:08 PM
In the 1980s I went outside with a friend in Michigan to watch the Perseids. It got a bit cloudy (and cold, even in August!) so we went in. A few minutes later a NASA mission dumped a load of barium into the way upper atmosphere to test the Earth's magnetic field (see here for more info (http://www-istp.gsfc.nasa.gov/Education/wposion.html)), lighting up the sky like an aurora, and we were inside watching TV.

Hale_Bopp
2002-Jan-10, 04:29 PM
I was just south of the '79 eclipse path of totality and my parents didn't take me to see it (I couldn't drive of course!)

I was in Trinidad in 1991 for the eclipse...about 60% coverage from there.

The eclipse in February of 1998 was about 50% from Florida and I had an outdood luncheon with my students at the time /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

I showed off the 2000 Christmas eclipse even though it was only about 25% where I was to several people with solar projection.

I saw the '94 annular eclipse from close to the path of maximum coverage and that was pretty good.

I found a gap in the clouds for the 1999 total eclipse in Germany!

It was cloudy here for the partial eclipse in December of 2001.

I have seen a couple of other partial eclipses that I do not remember the dates as well, but that sums up most of them.

I have already told my new employer that if I am still there, I will be taking a few days off around the total eclipse in 2017!

Rob

ToSeek
2002-Jan-10, 05:21 PM
I did finally get to see a total solar eclipse, aboard a cruise ship in the Caribbean in early 1997. That's the way to do it!

SeanF
2002-Jan-10, 05:35 PM
On 2002-01-10 11:29, Hale_Bopp wrote:

I have already told my new employer that if I am still there, I will be taking a few days off around the total eclipse in 2017!

Rob


Me, too! Well, I haven't told my employer yet, but I did tell my fiancee that we'd be taking a family vacation in August of that year.

You started looking into hotel reservations yet? /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_wink.gif

EckJerome
2002-Jan-10, 06:46 PM
I did manage to sneak a naked eye view by leaning out the window when the teacher had left the room. I caught a glimpse of about a third of the sun covered by the disc of the moon. It certainly left the impression on my retinas. But, I had to see it. You all understand.


Yes. I also understand exactly why the school held everyone inside...that wasn't a smart thing for you to do. Had you been outside, I guess you (or others) would have taken numerous such glimpses, and possibly done severe damage to your eyes.

I personally do not think that children should be allowed to view solar eclipses without direct adult supervision...and that means many more adults than one per 30 kids.

That said, back in '79 (9th grade for me), the eclipse was 96% in our city. We were also shut inside, even though it was mostly overcast that day. Still, many kids peeked out the window (as did our teacher). As it was, the thinner parts of overcast allowed fleeting filtered glimpses of the sun's occulted disk. Not exactly a smart thing to look at either but, hey, you understand. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_wink.gif

Only a limited number of students in science classes that day were allowed outside...as they had built pinhole viewers.

I remember arguing with my classmates over the myth that the eclipsed sun is actually *more* dangerous to look at than just the sun. It isn't actually more dangerous to look, just that it presents a more dangerous situation...since one is rarely tempted to look directly at the sun otherwise.

Eric

The Curtmudgeon
2002-Jan-10, 07:22 PM
I missed Neil Armstrong landing on the Moon.

I was the "budding young scientist" of the family, heavily into not only the science fiction common to my age group, but had gotten both a microscope/slide set and a chemistry set for various birthdays or Christmases. I was reading young people's science books (especially the old "How and Why Wonder Books" series) and the like. Needless to say, I was far and away the biggest NASA supporter on the block.

Mom had put in her name for a drawing for a "free vacation" at the previous Texas State Fair (September/October the year before) at an Arkansas location called Bella Vista. You know the type--as a part of the deal, Mom would have to sit through a buy-a-lot-and-cabin sales pitch, but for the several days (three, I think, but maybe it was four) we were there we'd get to enjoy fishing in their very own trout farm-fed pond and stream, trampling around the woods, that type of thing. Also, the cabin we were staying in had not only running water but also a TV.

Apollo 11 landed on the moon then. The whole family--Mom, my older sister, my grandparents, and of course myself--parked ourselves in our cabin in front of the TV. As both the youngest (12) and most science-prone of the bunch, I had the "place of honour" on the floor right in front of the TV; much closer than Mom would normally have let me get away with (although the 'living room' in the cabin was also a bit smaller than ours at home).

And before the Eagle actually landed, I was sound asleep. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_frown.gif

Needless to say, breakfast the next morning was excrutiating. I got to hear all about it, punctuated with constant references to "But you slept through it!"

The only thing that came close to saving that vacation for me was that the trout were fantastic, I caught the most (tied with Grandfather) out of our family, and Grandmother had them into a frying pan almost before they stopped flopping around! /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif Yum!

The (still hanging my head in shame, though) Curtmudgeon

frenchy
2002-Jan-10, 07:30 PM
I was in the middle of the totality band for the 1999 eclipse, and it became cloudy about
20 minutes before totality until maybe an hour after. Then we spent 6 hours in traffic jams to get back home.
Friends of mine raced around to see it in a clearing in the clouds but we couldn't.

I missed the leonids this year too. I actually have never seen a meteor shower!

Chip
2002-Jan-10, 07:56 PM
On 2002-01-10 14:30, frenchy wrote:
I was in the middle of the totality band for the 1999 eclipse, and it became cloudy about
20 minutes before totality until maybe an hour after. Then we spent 6 hours in traffic jams to get back home.
Friends of mine raced around to see it in a clearing in the clouds but we couldn't.

I missed the leonids this year too. I actually have never seen a meteor shower!



------------------------------------

"All things come to those who wait, (I say these words to make me glad), But something answers soft and sad, 'They come, but often come too late." -- Violet Fane, (1843-1905)

Better luck next time.

SeanF
2002-Jan-10, 08:08 PM
On 2002-01-10 13:46, EckJerome wrote:

I remember arguing with my classmates over the myth that the eclipsed sun is actually *more* dangerous to look at than just the sun. It isn't actually more dangerous to look, just that it presents a more dangerous situation...since one is rarely tempted to look directly at the sun otherwise.



Actually, the eclipsed sun is more dangerous to look at than the "normal" sun -- the pupils in your eyes dilate in darkness and contract in bright light in order to regulate the amount of light entering. Thus, your pupils are wider when looking at the eclipsed (dark) sun than when looking at the normal (bright) sun. Since the eclipse does not block a significant portion of the UV rays (which are what actually damages the eye), your retina would receive a higher dosage of UV during one second of looking at an eclipse than it would during one second of looking at the normal sun . . .

Of course, the temptation is also greater, which is why looking at even partial eclipses (which don't significantly darken the sun or widen the pupils) is still warned against.



_________________
SeanF

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: SeanF on 2002-01-10 15:10 ]</font>

MongotheGreat
2002-Jan-10, 08:48 PM
On 2002-01-10 13:46, EckJerome wrote:

Yes. I also understand exactly why the school held everyone inside...that wasn't a smart thing for you to do. Had you been outside, I guess you (or others) would have taken numerous such glimpses, and possibly done severe damage to your eyes.

I personally do not think that children should be allowed to view solar eclipses without direct adult supervision...and that means many more adults than one per 30 kids.

That said, back in '79 (9th grade for me), the eclipse was 96% in our city. We were also shut inside, even though it was mostly overcast that day. Still, many kids peeked out the window (as did our teacher). As it was, the thinner parts of overcast allowed fleeting filtered glimpses of the sun's occulted disk. Not exactly a smart thing to look at either but, hey, you understand. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_wink.gif

Only a limited number of students in science classes that day were allowed outside...as they had built pinhole viewers.



Eric



I know it is dangerous, but don't you think that the school had a responsibility to let all of us students experience the event? It's not like it was an unexpected event. They had plenty of time to prepare. Or at least provide a way for only the students who wanted to see it. It could have been a great experience. To this day I haven't seen any kind of solar ecclipse. Well, unless you count that time that mercury went in front of the sun, I forget the techinal term. I managed to catch that on film.

GrapesOfWrath
2002-Jan-11, 04:30 AM
On 2002-01-10 15:48, MongotheGreat wrote:
To this day I haven't seen any kind of solar ecclipse.
That's amazing. It seems like I see 'em all the time. Last December, Christmas; February of 1998; May, 1994; July, 1991. OK, four in ten years. I guess that's not bad.

One time, I stood on the back deck and showed my daughter that the little dot of sunlight showing through the pinhole had a chunk missing--so it really was an image of the sun. We did a quick set of similar triangles (she knew how far away the Sun was) and we figured out how big the Sun was.

Another time, I managed to schlep my 3 1/2 inch over to the elementary school and set it up with a solar filter outside. I'd drilled the class on the dangers, and we made pinhole viewers too. The most impressive thing? They were amazed that the shape in the telescope was the same as the pinhole image.

DStahl
2002-Jan-11, 06:15 AM
A friend who lives well outside of town said Hyutake was the most spectacular thing he'd ever seen in the night sky. I never got around to going someplace dark to see it! And then one guy saw the space shuttle streak overhead in re-entry one night. I missed that too.

But I was cross-country skiing during a partial eclipse once--the specks of sunlight under the pine trees were all crescentric instead of round, very striking.

--Don

Hale_Bopp
2002-Jan-11, 01:39 PM
Hukutake is the best comet I have ever seen,yes, topping the better known Hale-Bopp. I saw Hyakutake from the Everglades and the tail dominated the sky, easily 90 degrees long! Hale-Bopp had a brighter nucleus and could be seen easier from urban areas, but its tail couldn't match Hyakutake!

Rob

Hale_Bopp
2002-Jan-11, 01:39 PM
Hukutake is the best comet I have ever seen,yes, topping the better known Hale-Bopp. I saw Hyakutake from the Everglades and the tail dominated the sky, easily 90 degrees long! Hale-Bopp had a brighter nucleus and could be seen easier from urban areas, but its tail couldn't match Hyakutake!

Rob

ToSeek
2002-Jan-11, 01:49 PM
Does anyone remember Comet West, or am I showing my age? (I barely remember Comet West, but I do recall it being spectacular!)


_________________
"... to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield." - Tennyson, Ulysses

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: ToSeek on 2002-01-11 08:49 ]</font>

GrapesOfWrath
2002-Jan-11, 02:16 PM
Never saw Comet West, but did see Halley's last time around.

Pluto was closer to the Sun than Neptune for about twenty years, and it is now headed back out towards the edge of the solar system. If you missed it this time, it's going to be a while before the next time. Check out the images from Tenegra Observatory (http://sentient.home.mindspring.com/dan/danpluto.htm), taken one day apart. In that time, Pluto moved a full arcminute.

ToSeek
2002-Jan-11, 02:30 PM
On 2002-01-11 09:16, GrapesOfWrath wrote:
Never saw Comet West, but did see Halley's last time around.


I waited twenty years to see Comet Halley. What a disappointment!

David Hall
2002-Jan-11, 03:27 PM
When I was in first or second grade, I did one of the stupidist things in my life. I set the small junk newtonian my parents had given me up in my backyard and tried to look at the sun with no filters!

I guess I was lucky. I only passed my eye over the eyepiece very quickly, and it doesn't seem to have hurt me much. My right eye is a little nearsighted and astigmatic, but I'm not sure if this was the cause or if it's for some other reason. To this day I wonder how my friend fared though, as he took a peek also (he moved away shortly after that, so I never found out).

But hey, I've seen the surface of the sun through an unfiltered telescope. I consider it worth it. BUT DON'T ANYONE ELSE TRY, YOU HEAR!!

Other memorable events: I remember the scenes from Viking when I was about 9. But with more clarity I remember the Apollo-Soyuz rendevouz. I was 11 then, and I remember being fascinated by it and fought to get tv access to watch it.

In '79 I was in 6th grade, and I remember the eclipse. It was 78% in Denver where I lived, and my school had special viewing activities set up for everybody. They taught all the different ways to see an eclipse, and I remember being amazed by some of them, like looking at the shadows under a tree. My school certainly took the event as a teaching opportunity.

Saw Halley in University, and I was conveniently taking an Astronomy course at the time /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif Our observatory set up a special observing night. It was only a smudge on the horizon, but hey, it was HALLEY! It was best viewed in binoculars. Years later, Hale-Bopp kind of struck me the same way.

IN 1991 there was a cool arrangement of planets, with Mercury, Venus, Mars and Jupiter all lined up in the evening sky. It was my one and only sighting of Mercury.

Saw the annular eclipse in 1994 from OK City. I drove clear up from Dallas to see it. Used my binoculars to project an image on the ground for passers-by.

Hyakutake was a downer for me. Dallas was wall to wall clouds for 3 days during closest approach, and because of my schedule I couldn't take the time to drive out to beyond the clouds. I would have, but it came and went too suddenly to get any time off from work. Saw it before and after that though when it wasn't as spectacular.

My dreams for future observations are: a total solar eclipse, a really spectacular comet, and a true-life meteor storm. I also want to see the remaining 3 outer planets in a telescope, if I can get a good observing chance.

David Hall
2002-Jan-11, 03:38 PM
On 2002-01-10 15:48, MongotheGreat wrote:

They had plenty of time to prepare. Or at least provide a way for only the students who wanted to see it. It could have been a great experience. To this day I haven't seen any kind of solar ecclipse. Well, unless you count that time that mercury went in front of the sun, I forget the techinal term. I managed to catch that on film.



As I just said, my school had a great viewing event during a partial eclipse. They did it right, and they did it for the whole school. I wish more schools would look at events like this as educational experiences. (Actually, today, they'd keep everybody indoors and black out the windows for fear of liability suits. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif )

The term for a planet crossing the Sun's disk is a transit (Add that to my observing wish-list).

_________________
David Hall
"Dave... my mind is going... I can feel it... I can feel it." (http://www.occn.zaq.ne.jp/cuaea503/whatnots/2001_feel_it.wav)

<font size=-1>(Fixed a quote)</font>

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: David Hall on 2002-01-11 10:39 ]</font>

GrapesOfWrath
2002-Jan-11, 03:58 PM
On 2002-01-11 10:27, David Hall wrote:
IN 1991 there was a cool arrangement of planets, with Mercury, Venus, Mars and Jupiter all lined up in the evening sky. It was my one and only sighting of Mercury.
Get out there tonight! Mercury is easily visible after sundown, at -0.6 mag., in the WSW, about 6pm, depending on where you're at. It'll still be 11 degrees up in the sky when the sun is 6 degrees below the horizon, so no problem. You can't miss it--all the other bright objects in that direction, Mars, Formalhaut, Altair, will be almost a couple magnitudes dimmer.


My dreams for future observations are: a total solar eclipse, a really spectacular comet, and a true-life meteor storm. I also want to see the remaining 3 outer planets in a telescope, if I can get a good observing chance.
When you view Mercury, use binoculars. There's a fifth mag. star 3 degrees down to the right. Just beside it, 12 seconds to the left, will be Neptune at magnitude 8. There's a fifth mag. star 12 degrees up on the other side of Mercury, and Uranus is just 30 seconds to the left, about mag. 6.

You can easily bag all three tonight.

Donnie B.
2002-Jan-11, 04:02 PM
On 2002-01-11 10:27, David Hall wrote:
When I was in first or second grade, I did one of the stupidist things in my life. I set the small junk newtonian my parents had given me up in my backyard and tried to look at the sun with no filters!



This is speculation on my part, but... it's possible your scope didn't work very well, or at all, in the UV band, which would have protected your retina somewhat.

I'm sure the visible light alone would have been enough to cause damage, though, if you'd looked for more than a few moments. And a small telescope probably focuses IR pretty well; you might have cooked your eyeball.

On the general topic of looking at eclipses, I have heard that directly observing the sun isn't quite as harmful as the news media generally make it out to be (when eclipses come along). There were some early astronomers who observed the sun routinely, a few seconds at a time, over a period of years. Yes, they suffered vision loss, but not immediately and not necessarily due to their star-gazing. Looking at the sun for a second or two will not strike you blind, though it's not a good idea (especially now that we have safer ways to do it).

However, the argument that looking at an eclipsed sun is worse than the normal solar disc is a new one to me, and intriguing. Sounds plausible, too.

David Hall
2002-Jan-11, 04:49 PM
On 2002-01-11 10:58, GrapesOfWrath wrote:

Get out there tonight! Mercury is easily visible after sundown, at -0.6 mag., in the WSW, about 6pm, depending on where you're at. It'll still be 11 degrees up in the sky when the sun is 6 degrees below the horizon, so no problem. You can't miss it--all the other bright objects in that direction, Mars, Formalhaut, Altair, will be almost a couple magnitudes dimmer.

When you view Mercury, use binoculars. There's a fifth mag. star 3 degrees down to the right. Just beside it, 12 seconds to the left, will be Neptune at magnitude 8. There's a fifth mag. star 12 degrees up on the other side of Mercury, and Uranus is just 30 seconds to the left, about mag. 6.

You can easily bag all three tonight.


Thanks Grapes. Unfortunately, I have to work until 7pm tonight. Ugh. I just ran the sky through my freebee copy of AdAstra and it looks like it'll be below the horizon before I can get out. Not that there's a clear horizon anywhere in this city in the first place.

I may get a chance to go out tomorrow. I'm going to a party, and if I can, and if they have a view of the western sky, I may be able to get some of the guests out for a quick view. I've printed out a star map and I'll take my binocs along. I'm afraid Uranus and Neptune might be beyond my ability in the middle of the city.

It looks like there'll be a better viewing of Mercury come March though. I've got to get me some better software.

GrapesOfWrath
2002-Jan-11, 05:17 PM
On 2002-01-11 11:49, David Hall wrote:
It looks like there'll be a better viewing of Mercury come March though. I've got to get me some better software.
Not sure about that. It may be brighter, but it'll be closer to the Sun, no? And you'll have to get up in the morning to see it.

Uranus is naked eye, right now, so you should be able to see it in binoculars, even in suburban skies.

MongotheGreat
2002-Jan-11, 06:01 PM
On 2002-01-11 10:38, David Hall wrote:
As I just said, my school had a great viewing event during a partial eclipse. They did it right, and they did it for the whole school. I wish more schools would look at events like this as educational experiences. (Actually, today, they'd keep everybody indoors and black out the windows for fear of liability suits. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif )

The term for a planet crossing the Sun's disk is a transit (Add that to my observing wish-list).

_________________
David Hall
"Dave... my mind is going... I can feel it... I can feel it." (http://www.occn.zaq.ne.jp/cuaea503/whatnots/2001_feel_it.wav)

<font size=-1>(Fixed a quote)</font>

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: David Hall on 2002-01-11 10:39 ]</font>


Just get ready for the two transits of venus, one in 2004, one in 2012. They always appear in twos about a hundred years apart. The last two were arounf the 1880's. With mercury the shadow was incredibly small. Hoping the transit of venus will be better. It was still an amazing experience to see the relative sizes of mercury to the sun.

Mongo

Hale_Bopp
2002-Jan-11, 06:09 PM
I did solar projection outside my school for the transit of Mercury. Several students in clubs and sports teams stopped by to see it. We could see it move over the course of several minutes, so we knew we had the right object.

I hope I get good weather for the transit of Venus!

Rob

GrapesOfWrath
2002-Jan-11, 06:14 PM
I was tracking Venus after your comment about the transit in 2004--check out the western evening sky in late April and early May of this year. Lots of bright planets, Jupiter, Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Saturn. The last four in a bunch.

For me, the transit June 8, 2004, starts at 12:30am and finishes at 6:30. Drag.

Hale_Bopp
2002-Jan-11, 06:18 PM
Here is an article about eye damage during an eclipse.

http://www.williams.edu/Astronomy/IAU_eclipses/

On another note, a few years ago, all five visible planets were visible in the west after sunset. I saw them toward the end of a training run for a marathon as I crossed a bridge. Wonderful sight. It was early December, but I can't remember the year!

Rob

SeanF
2002-Jan-11, 06:21 PM
On 2002-01-11 13:14, GrapesOfWrath wrote:

For me, the transit June 8, 2004, starts at 12:30am and finishes at 6:30. Drag.


Here it goes from 11:30 to 5:30 . . . might possibly be able to catch the very end of it, but doubtful.

Looks like the 2012 one will start about 6:00pm here, so maybe I'll be able to see that one. And that'll be just 5 years before that eclipse! /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_wink.gif

Hale_Bopp
2002-Jan-11, 06:25 PM
Oh, and I wanted to find a reference before I said anything, but I was reasonably certain that it is safe to view a solar eclipse DURING TOTALITY ONLY without a filter. I saw the '99 eclipse with Rich Talcott (an editor at Astronomy magazine). I found an article online in Astronomy now saying the same thing.

http://www.astronomynow.com/eclipse/safety.html

You can debate this if you want...I would love to see some references with opposing views so I could make an informed decision. Of course, I already viewed one total eclipse without filters (during totality only, of course) and survived to tell the tale!

Rob

MongotheGreat
2002-Jan-11, 06:46 PM
On 2002-01-11 13:21, SeanF wrote:


On 2002-01-11 13:14, GrapesOfWrath wrote:

For me, the transit June 8, 2004, starts at 12:30am and finishes at 6:30. Drag.


Here it goes from 11:30 to 5:30 . . . might possibly be able to catch the very end of it, but doubtful.

Looks like the 2012 one will start about 6:00pm here, so maybe I'll be able to see that one. And that'll be just 5 years before that eclipse! /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_wink.gif



So are you saying that we'll have to go to Europe to see either one? I hadn't checked out the times yet. Something like this I suppose I'll have to. That sucks.
Mongo

The Bad Astronomer
2002-Jan-11, 06:56 PM
A long, but fascinating look at eye safety comes from Andrew Young on his webpage (http://mintaka.sdsu.edu/GF/vision/Galileo.html). He gives a contrary view to what else you might hear. I quoted him a bit for a chapter on eclipse safety in my book too.

Donnie B.
2002-Jan-11, 08:33 PM
On the other hand, the bright exit pupil of a telescope can produce very rapid heating indeed. That is why solar filters are made to go over the telescope objective, rather than over the eyepiece. For example, a friend of mine once tried to use a dark welder's glass at the eyepiece of his telescope; he had put the glass over the eyepiece, and was just about to look in, when the welder's goggle exploded!


Daaaaannnngggg...

David, good thing you didn't look into that eyepiece for long!

hullaballo
2002-Jan-11, 09:46 PM
Camped out with some friends back in '81 to see the "alignment" of the planets. Was before I was really into astronomy. Didn't know which were stars and which were planets for sure. Wasn't worried about the Earth being ripped apart though.

EckJerome
2002-Jan-11, 10:48 PM
On 2002-01-10 15:48, MongotheGreat wrote:
I know it is dangerous, but don't you think that the school had a responsibility to let all of us students experience the event?


No, I think it is a question of having adequate supervision. There is a very real liability issue here that cannot be denied, even under normal circumstances...though especially given our current litigious society. Most grade schoolers are simply to young to understand the danger...or not to give in to temptation. One teacher for 30 students isn't enough supervision.

Frankly, I think the school did the right thing. That said, I am a bit perplexed that your school did not do as you suggested, and allowed a small group of older kids to properly prepare for and view the eclipse...but, of course, I know that answer: it wouldn't have been faaaiiirrrrr (whining sarcasm).

However, if my hypothetical kids are going to be shut inside school during a solar eclipse, well, then they won't be in school that day. They will be out with their father to safely witness an event of a lifetime.

I'll tell you...we were only an 8-hour drive from the line of totality in '79 and I was rather upset that my parents wouldn't take us there.

Eric

EckJerome
2002-Jan-11, 11:15 PM
On 2002-01-10 15:08, SeanF wrote:
Actually, the eclipsed sun is more dangerous to look at than the "normal" sun -- the pupils in your eyes dilate in darkness and contract in bright light in order to regulate the amount of light entering.


Ah, yes...that would be part of the myth. Your pupils don't dialate *that* much during partial phases...even 90% covered hardly constitutes "darkness." I think you are confusing the most dangerous point in time...the end of totality when, yes, your eyes have adapted to "darkness" and suddenly the diamond ring effect occurs. Beyond that, partial phases are no more dangerous than looking at the whole sun.

Actually, one of the viewing articles linked to does pose an argument for whay partial phases are *more* dangerous too look at (do note that I can find no other references to partial phases being more dangerous)...that being that the cusps provide a reference point which thwarts normal eye movement and gives a person something to "focus" on.

I dunno, maybe...but again, I think his arguement presents reasoning for why the "situation" creates a greater danger, rather than the view itself.

Eric

MongotheGreat
2002-Jan-11, 11:24 PM
No, I think it is a question of having adequate supervision. There is a very real liability issue here that cannot be denied, even under normal circumstances...though especially given our current litigious society. Most grade schoolers are simply to young to understand the danger...or not to give in to temptation. One teacher for 30 students isn't enough supervision.

Frankly, I think the school did the right thing. That said, I am a bit perplexed that your school did not do as you suggested, and allowed a small group of older kids to properly prepare for and view the eclipse...but, of course, I know that answer: it wouldn't have been faaaiiirrrrr (whining sarcasm).

However, if my hypothetical kids are going to be shut inside school during a solar eclipse, well, then they won't be in school that day. They will be out with their father to safely witness an event of a lifetime.

I'll tell you...we were only an 8-hour drive from the line of totality in '79 and I was rather upset that my parents wouldn't take us there.

Eric



I'll just say that if I ever have the opportunity to provide this experience to kids, I would do everything I could. I realize that schools have to worry about the liability thing, but it shouldn't overshadow this missed opportunity(pun accidental but intended). I didn't even know about the ecclipse untill they said not to look out the windows, which just about everybody did.

Hale_Bopp
2002-Jan-12, 02:50 AM
I don't know the source of the original quote, and I am paraphrasing here, but you should never let one's schooling get in the way of one's education /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

Rob

thkaufm
2002-Jan-12, 03:10 AM
Actually what I really regret missing most is a Saturn V liftoff. That's my parents' fault, too

I got to see one. Apollo 17. I was very young. My parents put me and my sister in the car to sleep because of the launch delays, but came and woke us up in time to see the takeoff.

Tom

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: thkaufm on 2002-01-11 22:16 ]</font>

Kaptain K
2002-Jan-12, 11:38 AM
Does anyone remember Comet West, or am I showing my age? (I barely remember Comet West, but I do recall it being spectacular!)
I missed West, but I did see (and photograph) Kohotek(1973f).

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Kaptain K on 2002-01-12 06:49 ]</font>

GrapesOfWrath
2002-Jan-13, 04:50 PM
Thirty years ago, I hitchhiked through New Mexico and stayed for a while with my aunt and uncle. Just as I was getting ready to leave, they casually mentioned that one of their neighbors had a backyard telescope that we could have used, and he just happened to be the guy who discovered Pluto.

My jaw dropped. I ended up being able to talk to Clyde Tombaugh on the telephone, and we exchanged some letters, but I never met him.

Argos
2002-Jan-13, 07:42 PM
The last Leonids! Heavy clouds for a whole month, here in my corner. No chance.

steinhenge
2002-Jan-14, 04:20 AM
I actually managed to see Hyutake from sea while working a two-week Caribbean cruise! So, basically, I got paid to take a cruise and see a comet. Jealous much?

And let me tell ya, I don't think I'll ever see anything as stunning ever again.

Hale_Bopp
2002-Jan-14, 01:28 PM
I saw Hyakutake in all its glory from the Everglades while the moon was rising in a total lunar eclipse. Think I had a pretty good show there also /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

Rob

David Hall
2002-Jan-14, 01:33 PM
First, to Donnie B. You betcha I was lucky. I was young and stupid, but I think I knew it was dangerous even then. But I certainly didn't know HOW dangerous it was. I'm lucky I got out of there with my sight intact. If you think about it, you can fry ants in a second with a magnifying glass, so using a telescope would be magnitudes more powerful. Yikes. Still, I can picture it in my memory right now. I can clearly remember seeing the granulation of the surface. Awesome!

Second, a report on Mercury spotting. I got a little bit lucky on Saturday when my last class got cancelled, so I was able to get home early enough to try to spot it. It took me a few minutes, but I finally saw a very faint spot just above the horizon of buildings. It was very hazy on the horizon, so Mercury was almost invisible to the naked eye, and only a little better in binoculars. Uranus and Neptune were right out, as there was absolutely nothing else visible in that area of the sky.

I wanted to try again on Sunday at the party I mentioned, and I got everyone there a little curious about it, but a quick peek outside at dusk showed too many clouds, so we had to give that idea up.

Oh well. I'll try again in a few months. At least I know where to look for Uranus and Neptune now.

On another note, following up on Grapes' tip, I checked the skies in late April and May, and there is indeed going to be a very nice arrangement of planets in the evenings. All 5 visible planets will be arranged out after sunset, and in one of the most beautiful areas of the sky as well. The best view in my opinion will be May 6th, with Mars, Venus, and Saturn all bunched up together and Mercury at about it's greatest elongation. I've taken a screenshot of the arrangement here: http://www.occn.zaq.ne.jp/cuaea503/images/may6eveningsky.jpg

May 14-16 also looks very good. The planets get strung out a little more, and the Moon skips through as well. Man, I'll bet it will be awesome. I can hardly wait.

Mark your calendar boys and girls. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

Donnie B.
2002-Jan-14, 04:12 PM
I can picture it in my memory right now. I can clearly remember seeing the granulation of the surface. Awesome!


I wonder...

I hate to shatter your illusions, but I doubt that what you saw was the real solar surface granulations. More likely is that you saw some of the internal structure of your eye.

I have experienced this during an ophthalmologist's exam, done with my pupil chemically dilated. The eye doc (don't want to type ophth... twice!) used a very bright light to examine my retina (he mostly kept it off the center of vision, but it was painful nevertheless). I could see a lot of strange things, including squiggly patterns of capillaries and a very notable granular structure.

I really doubt that, if you took a passing glance into the eyepiece, the image was properly focused. Or that your retina would be capable of detecting the difference in brightness between the various parts of the solar surface.

If the glimpse you got was so well-focused that you saw the real granulations of the sun's surface, I doubt you'd have vision in that eye today.

But I guess I could be wrong...

chris l.
2002-Jan-14, 06:09 PM
Anyone planning to see the transit of Venus in 2004? It will not be visible in North America until the very end.

MongotheGreat
2002-Jan-14, 06:48 PM
On 2002-01-14 13:09, tychobrahe wrote:
Anyone planning to see the transit of Venus in 2004? It will not be visible in North America until the very end.


I will now. I don't know about 2004 but maybe 2012. I've heard that one isn't optimized for North America either. We seem to always get suckered out of the good stuff. I wouls have no idea where to go, though.

GrapesOfWrath
2002-Jan-15, 11:17 PM
David Hall

Go out tonight and check out Mercury. It'll be low and to the right of the moon, just when it's getting dark. You can't miss it. It's mag. 0.

Also, when I looked at the moon in binoculars, I could see the star delta Capricorni just to the right about three degrees (probably a little less than half the field of view). On the other side of the star was Uranus. It was lined up between two other stars, and I kept fiddling with my binoculars, because I was seeing Uranus as a double. Turns out Uranus is mag. 5.9 and 44 Capricorni is mag. 5.89, 3 arcminutes away from it. Kinda cool.

GrapesOfWrath
2002-Jun-28, 01:33 PM
On July 10, Venus passes within one degree of the bright star Regulus, in Leo. A few days later, the 12th/13th, the crescent moon joins them.

In early December, Venus will pass close to Mars, in the early morning sky.

<font size=-1>[Mars info]</font>

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: GrapesOfWrath on 2002-06-28 09:37 ]</font>

sadprince
2002-Jun-28, 02:13 PM
I travelled from Sydney Australia to watch the 1999 Eclipse in Cornwall, England to keep a childhood promise with my father and watch it together.

Saw some nice thick cloud that day. That's all!

Motto? It doesn't help to plan things 30 years in advance...

Conrad
2002-Jun-28, 02:17 PM
I apologise on behalf of the British weather.
However, remember that we have to live with it *all the time*. Whereas you get sunshine, presumably lots of it all the time and clear skies to boot.

Oh - am I an Apprentice yet?

GrapesOfWrath
2002-Jun-28, 02:56 PM
On 2002-06-28 10:17, Conrad wrote:
Oh - am I an Apprentice yet?

Sorry, that takes 101 posts--one more.

kucharek
2002-Jun-28, 03:04 PM
On 2002-06-28 10:13, sadprince wrote:
I travelled from Sydney Australia to watch the 1999 Eclipse in Cornwall, England to keep a childhood promise with my father and watch it together.

Saw some nice thick cloud that day. That's all!

Motto? It doesn't help to plan things 30 years in advance...

When I recognized the eclipse to come some 25 years ago, I lived some 200 km south of the path - pretty far at that age. Now it happened that I came to live at the center of the path since 15 years and when the eclipse happened, Karlsruhe was one of the few places with the right hole at the right place at the right time in the clouds. I did one mistake: I tried to photograph it, film it, watch it through the telescope and try to teach my children in this minute of totalitary - instead of simply sitting down and enjoy it...

Gramma loreto
2002-Jun-28, 06:17 PM
I watched all the moon landings (couldn't pry me away from the tv) and I remember viewing comets West and Kahoutek. I caught Halley from Myrtle Beach SC and viewed Hyakutake and Hale-Bopp in Germany.

I think two of my most memorable viewing experiences involve meteors. Late one evening in 1978, while camping in the mountains near Denver CO, a "hisser" passed directly overhead.

More spectacular was a small fireball I observed in NC sometime around 1993-94 that came close to impacting (*sigh*). I was quite colorful and gave off a lot of flaming sparks. Based on the remnant smoke trail's relation to the trees in the area as I drove around, I figure it was less than a mile away.

roidspop
2002-Jul-01, 03:32 AM
Am I the only one who remembers Ikeya-Seki?

I watched it rise over the mountains east of Las Cruces, NM on the morning of perihelion...the tail stretched almost to zenith. And my wife-to-be and I saw it at noon that day, using the corner of a building as a occluder, standing out beside the sun like a small streak of fire. Awesome sight.

Smaug
2002-Nov-15, 01:37 AM
On 2002-01-10 09:58, MongotheGreat wrote:
When I was in sixth grade, there was a total solar ecclipse, I believe, in which our town was in its path. This was around 1995. We were in school at the time, but the school did nothing to let us view this. They held us inside and even cancelled outside gym classes for that day. I geuss they didn't want anyone hurting their eyes. I desparately wanted to see it. I now consider it gross malfeasence on the school's part for letting this extremely rare educational opportunity slip by. I did manage to sneak a naked eye view by leaning out the window when the teacher had left the room. I caught a glimpse of about a third of the sun covered by the disc of the moon. It certainly left the impression on my retinas. But, I had to see it. You all understand.

Mongo



NO WAY! I lived in Indiana until about 6 months ago. I distinctly remember it also. I was in Kindergarten. While I was waiting for the bus to pick me up in the morning, one of the other kid's dad had a welding mask. He let us look through it. It was the coolest thing I had seen. The Sun looked like a waxing crescent of the Moon. However when we got to school, we were forced to look straight at the ground until we got into the building. I thought that I would go blind if I looked at it /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif . Later I learned that the Sun is always like that though, but it won't make you go blind necessarily /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_lol.gif .

P.S. What town were you in when this happened. I lived in Valparaiso, IN. it's in the NorthWest portion of the state, close to Gary.

Manchurian Taikonaut
2004-Mar-08, 03:02 PM
Quote:

On 2002-01-11 10:27, David Hall wrote:
When I was in first or second grade, I did one of the stupidist things in my life. I set the small junk newtonian my parents had given me up in my backyard and tried to look at the sun with no filters!




ouch!! nasty :x :oops:

Andromeda321
2004-Mar-08, 06:26 PM
When I was in sixth grade, there was a total solar ecclipse, I believe, in which our town was in its path. This was around 1995. We were in school at the time, but the school did nothing to let us view this. They held us inside and even cancelled outside gym classes for that day. I geuss they didn't want anyone hurting their eyes. I desparately wanted to see it. I now consider it gross malfeasence on the school's part for letting this extremely rare educational opportunity slip by. I did manage to sneak a naked eye view by leaning out the window when the teacher had left the room. I caught a glimpse of about a third of the sun covered by the disc of the moon. It certainly left the impression on my retinas. But, I had to see it. You all understand.

Mongo

I remember that eclipse! I was in second grade and my dad had gotten my brother, sister, and me eclipse glasses for the event so we got "special permission" from the school to go outside and view it (outdoor recess was cancelled that day etc). Eventually, however, we got around to rotating the three eclipse glasses around the school so most of the school got to see it anyway. 8)

2004-Mar-08, 08:06 PM
In the 1980s I went outside with a friend in Michigan to watch the Perseids. It got a bit cloudy (and cold, even in August!) so we went in. A few minutes later a NASA mission dumped a load of barium into the way upper atmosphere to test the Earth's magnetic field (see here for more info (http://www-istp.gsfc.nasa.gov/Education/wposion.html)), lighting up the sky like an aurora, and we were inside watching TV.

November 16 1966 I was working hard on my dissertaion at UCLA. Friends asked me to join them in driving over the mountains to the desert to see the meteor shower. Well, heck, I had seen lots of meteors and I had about 60 hours of photometry to reduce from my last observing run. So I took a pass ... and worked till about 2 AM ... and went home to bed ... and missed perhaps the most spectacular Leonid display in living memory. Don Pearson at Kitt Peak that night described it thusly "After 3 hours it picked up dramatically, and we observed a peak of about 40/second that lasted for 10 to 20 minutes. This was 24,000 in a ten minute period, a rate of 144,000/hour. We stood in awe as the sky seemed filled with meteors."

milli360
2004-Mar-08, 08:11 PM
So I took a pass
Bummer

The next ones have more or less come and gone recently, and they weren't close to that.

Ut
2004-Mar-08, 08:38 PM
When I was in sixth grade, there was a total solar ecclipse, I believe, in which our town was in its path. This was around 1995. We were in school at the time, but the school did nothing to let us view this. They held us inside and even cancelled outside gym classes for that day. I geuss they didn't want anyone hurting their eyes. I desparately wanted to see it. I now consider it gross malfeasence on the school's part for letting this extremely rare educational opportunity slip by. I did manage to sneak a naked eye view by leaning out the window when the teacher had left the room. I caught a glimpse of about a third of the sun covered by the disc of the moon. It certainly left the impression on my retinas. But, I had to see it. You all understand.

Mongo

I remember that eclipse! I was in second grade and my dad had gotten my brother, sister, and me eclipse glasses for the event so we got "special permission" from the school to go outside and view it (outdoor recess was cancelled that day etc). Eventually, however, we got around to rotating the three eclipse glasses around the school so most of the school got to see it anyway. 8)

I remember this as well. I was in grade 6, and the eclipse occured after school got out for me. A friend of mine and I were supposed to observe using his dad's welding goggles. He skipped out on me, though. Instead, I tracked the shadows with clothespins (just laying them on the ground at the tip of the shadow of a pole). It was really cool to see the shadow elongate, and then shorten again.

Glom
2004-Mar-08, 08:51 PM
When I was in first or second grade, I did one of the stupidist things in my life. I set the small junk newtonian my parents had given me up in my backyard and tried to look at the sun with no filters!

He must have realised something was up when his face began blistering as he moved his eye into position.