Posts Tagged ‘Astronomy Picture of the Day’

Planets, Total Eclipse, Great Wall of China

18 July, 2009

A breathtaking shot of the solar eclipse of August 2008, taking place over the Great Wall of China.

To stand on the ancient ramparts is a grand experience. To do so with a celestial event happening above would be simply surreal.

Photo: Terry Cuttle (Brisbane, Australia)

This dramatic skyscape was recorded during the August 2008 total solar eclipse. The Moon’s silhouette surrounded by a glistening solar corona hangs above the Jiayuguan Fort along the western edge of the Great Wall of China. Lined-up along the ecliptic plane, all the planets of the inner solar system, Mercury, Venus, Mars, (and Earth!) can also be seen along with Saturn and bright star Regulus, as the Moon’s shadow tracks across the landscape. Beyond the Moon’s shadow, outside the total eclipse track, sunlight still brightens the sky over mountains on the horizon 30 – 50 kilometers away. Much anticipated, the 2009 July 22nd total solar eclipse will again be visible from China. Planets and bright stars will briefly appear in darkened daytime skies, though a total eclipse won’t be seen from the Great Wall. Still, major cities and populated areas lie along the 2009 total eclipse track that begins in India and sweeps eastward across Asia and into the Pacific Ocean.

Astronomy Picture of the Day posted this in anticipation of the upcoming eclipse next Wednesday. The world is waiting with bated breath. We ourselves are packed and ready to fly up to China.

This will be some event. 4 more days, people. If you’re not in China, watch it LIVE on


Eclipse over Africa

29 June, 2009

Here’s a sequence shot of the June 21, 2001 eclipse, a total solar eclipse of the Sun with a magnitude of 1.0495, visible from a narrow corridor in the southern Atlantic Ocean and southern Africa, in this case, over Zimbabwe.


Starting at the upper left, this sequence of images follows the progress of the magnificent 21 June, 2001 solar eclipse in the clear skies over Bakasa, Zimbabwe. These pictures were recorded using a small reflecting telescope and digital camera with the approximate local time given above each frame. A simple pair of “eclipse spectacles” were mounted as a filter in front of the telescope mirror and removed during totality. In the early and late phases of this eclipse of the active Sun, sunspot groups can be seen lingering on the solar surfaceDuring eclipse totality, pinkish prominences are visible at the solar limb along with details of the normally hidden solar corona. Seen from this location, the total eclipse phase lasted just under 3 1/2 minutes as the Moon’s shadow rushed across northern Zimbabwe at nearly 5,000 kilometers per hour.

Source: Astronomy Picture of the Day

Astronomy Picture of the Day, Solar Eclipse Picture of the Century

24 June, 2009

Another rare sight of a rare sight. A solar eclipse seen from the ends of the earth, in Antarctica. It was taken by Fred Bruenjes ( The description that goes with this picture is as follows:

The Sun, the Moon, Antarctica, and two photographers all lined up in 2003 Antarctica during an unusual total eclipse of the Sun. Even given the extreme location, a group of enthusiastic eclipse chasers ventured near the bottom of the world to experience the surreal momentary disappearance of the Sun behind the Moon. One of the treasures collected was the above picture — a composite of four separate images digitally combined to realistically simulate how the adaptive human eye saw the eclipse. As the image was taken, both the Moon and the Sun peaked together over an Antarctic ridge. In the sudden darkness, the magnificent corona of the Sun became visible around the Moon. Quite by accident, another photographer was caught in one of the images checking his video camera. Visible to his left are an equipment bag and a collapsible chair.

Absolutely amazing.

Photo: Fred Bruenjes (

Astronomy Picture of the Day is an excellent website that features a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe every day, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

Google’s led me there more than once when I’m doing searches, so it must have quite a few fans out there (which means I’m not the only geek around). Some pictures are incredible. Do a search or go to the index and pick your favourite heavenly body: galaxies, nebulas, planets, and, of course, solar eclipses.

This solar eclipse occurred on November 23, 2003 and fell along a corridor in the Antarctic region, though the southern tip of South America and most of Australia caught a partial eclipse.

Source: Astronomy Picture of the Day