Archive for the ‘Sun’ Category

Through the clouds

16 July, 2009

Those catching the eclipse of October 3, 2005 lucked out. The skies were cloudy over Spain, but they still managed to catch this shot of an annular eclipse. In fact, the clouds added a bit of textures to create this amazing shot.

That said… please, please, please, please let the skies be clear on 22 July 2009.

Solar Eclipse 3 Oct 2005 (Photo: Chosovi)


The Sun and Manhattenhenge

14 July, 2009

We saw this in the news recently — Manhattanhenge.

Photo: Shawn Hawk (From FlickrBlog)It’s a biannual occurrence in which the setting Sun aligns with the east-west streets of Manhattan’s famous grid.

(The term hails from Stonehenge, at which the Sun aligns with the stones of the famous monument on the Salisbury plains on the solstices, signalling the change of the season.)

This phenomenon applies to the streets that are laid out at a grid offset 28.9 degrees from true east-west (following the Commissioner’s Plan of 1811.)

The term was coined by Neil deGrasse Tyson in 2002. Tyson is an astrophysicist at the American Museum of Natural History (one of the best natural history museums in the world, really, especially if you love dinosaurs).

His article on the matter can be read here.

Manhattanhenge 2009 occurred just — on Sunday, July 12. (Darn, we weren’t in Manhattan to catch it.)

The earlier one was on Saturday, May 30. (There are corresponding sunrise dates as well, if you’re the morning person sort.) As with the solstices and equinoxes, the dates will vary from year to year.

Sweet phenomenon. (Still, we must stop the Sun on 22 July.)

An eclipse in Goa, India

14 July, 2009

If you’re in the northern part of India, even better if you’re in the northeastern part because then it won’t be too early before sunrise, there’s a good chance you can catch the total solar eclipse.

Here’s a shot of silhouettes in Goa to inspire you.

19 Mar 2007 (Photo: Joerg Schoppmeyer)

On Moonday, March 19, (2007) shortly before the equinox, locations in Asia and the Arctic were favoured by the New Moon’s shadow during a partial solar eclipse. Although the view from Goa, India found the eclipsed Sun near the horizon, photographer Joerg Schoppmeyer was still able to capture this lovely image, combining celestial with terrestrial silhouettes. The next eclipse season will begin in late August this year, featuringa total lunar eclipse on August 28, and another partial solar eclipse on September 11. Compared to the March 19th eclipse, the September 11th eclipse will be seen on the other side of our fair planet, from parts of South America and Antarctica. (Source: APOD)

8 more days to the Eclipse of the Century!

In the details

13 July, 2009

Image: GerlosGerlos_Sequenzaeclissi

Here a sequence of a partial eclipse that was so detailed it made our heads spin. (Or maybe that’s just because it’s Monday and our brains haven’t warmed up yet.)

The sequence was shot every 3 minutes. Taken of the 29 March 2006 total solar eclipse, this view is from Palermo, Spain which experiences only a partial eclipse.

All-in-one eclipse

12 July, 2009

This is an interesting shot. Instead of doing the phases of the eclipse in a sequence of shots, this one overlays them all. The partial eclipse and the corona shining around the total eclipse.

Solar Eclipse (Photo: R Berteig_

The Total Solar Eclipse of August 1, 2008

11 July, 2009

Here’s something else to watch over the weekend.

The last eclipse that generated a fair amount of publicity was the total eclipse that happened on August 1, 2008. And the Exploratorium went up to China to catch that event. This is what they saw.


(The Exploratorium is based in San Francisco, and it’s a museum of science, art, humans and technology that created the “hands on” movement among museums around the world. About a thousand museums internationally that trace their exhibits or programmes to the Exploratorium. Its mission is to provide the general public, even those with the most limited scientific knowledge, the joy of discovery. And hopes inspire young and old, academic or artist, and provide a better understanding of science and nature.)

Moon eats Sun… Like a cookie…

10 July, 2009

Another sequence shot of the annular eclipse of October 3, 2005. This one shot from Gárgoles de Arriba in Spain.

From the silhouette of the Moon descending, it really looks like it just came down and “ate” the Sun before moving off and continuing on its way.

No wonder many of the ancients had tales of the Moon consuming the Sun. (If we had our way, we would have added a bit about “and the Moon chomped up the Sun like a cookie”… But that’s just us…)

Annular Eclipse (Image: Antonio Ferretti)

The Sun and its UV rays

9 July, 2009

If you’ve not totally forgotten Science class, you’ll recall that sunlight is made up of the spectrum of light of many colours at different wavelengths.

(Richard of York Goes Battle In Vain, anyone?)

So, beyond the red part of the solar spectrum, you’ll find infrared radiation. And, at the other end of the spectrum, is ultraviolet (UV) light.

Image: NASAThere are basically three kinds of ultraviolet (UV) radiation that the Sun emits. UVA, UVB and UVC. UVA is long wave, also known as black light. UVB is medium wave and UVC is short wave, or germicidal.

UV rays are important because they assist our bodies in making vitamin D, which strengthens bones and teeth and helps our bodies build immunities to diseases, among other medical qualities.

Besides being also used in the treatment of some medical conditions, UV rays have various commercial uses as well, such as sterilisation and disinfection.

Some animals can see UV rays, and UV vision helps bees to collect pollen from flowers.

SunburnHowever, in spite of all their positive uses, UV rays remain very harmful for anyone who spends a large amount of time in the sun without proper protection. The most common effect of exposure to UV rays is sunburn.

Sunburn is the damage caused to skin cells when they have absorbed too much energy from UV rays.

What happens is that the UV rays penetrate the top layer of skin and burns the layer beneath that.

The sunburn causes blood to rush to the affected area as the body tries to cool the burn, which accounts for the “redness” immediately after a sunburn. The damaged skin ultimately peels away.

BUT, that’s not all.

Long term exposure to the Sun and its UV rays without proper protection increases one’s risk of skin cancer.

SunburnThe Earth’s ozone layer blocks out 98.7% of UV radiation from entering our atmosphere, protecting us from its harmful effects. (That’s why it’s important to stop global warming and not destroy the ozone layer.)

At least on July 22, the Moon will stop the Sun for a full 6 minutes and 39 seconds. If you get a chance to witness it, don’t miss it because this will be the longest total eclipse of this century.

Sun? Moon? Both?

9 July, 2009

Let’s see. The Sun is in sky. The Moon moves in front of the Sun and blocks it. Resulting in the Sun looking like crescent Moon.

Tilt it to a side and you could almost see the Cheshire Cat. Curiouser and curiouser… 

Photo: Luis Fernandez Garcia

Nice image captured by Luis Fernández García from the eclipse in August 1999.

Blast from the past

6 July, 2009

Before the age of digital cameras and image hosting websites and the spread of the Internet, eclipses were harder to share.

Here’s a rare shot of the 11 July 1991 total solar eclipse over the Pacific Ocean and Hawaii moving across Mexico, through Central America and across South America.

Photo: Mario Roberto Duran Ortiz

The 1991 total eclipse lasted an incredible 6 minutes and 53 seconds — even longer than the solar eclipse of the century on 22 July 2009 which will last 6 minutes 39 seconds.

But the good thing about this month’s eclipse is — you won’t have to miss it. It will be streamed “live” on

If that’s not good enough, there’s a Hi-Definition version. But you’ll have to leave a comment or message here to find out how.