David Levy's Guide to Eclipses, Transits, and Occultations by David H. Levy

By David H. Levy

During this uncomplicated advisor, David Levy conjures up readers to adventure the beauty of eclipses and different brief astronomical occasions for themselves. masking either sunlight and lunar eclipses, he provides step by step directions on how one can notice and photo eclipses. in addition to explaining the technological know-how at the back of eclipses, the booklet additionally offers their historic historical past, discussing how they have been saw some time past and what we have now discovered from them. This own account comprises examples from the seventy seven eclipses the writer has witnessed himself. The advisor additionally contains chapters on occultations of stars and planets through the Moon and of asteroids by means of stars, and the transits of Mercury and Venus. Tables of destiny eclipses make this worthwhile for an individual, from newcomers to practised observers, desirous to research extra approximately those interesting occasions.

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Additional info for David Levy's Guide to Eclipses, Transits, and Occultations

Example text

Sky darkening Some of the ideas I offer in these pages come from O’Meara’s excellent article An eclipse timetable. 2 If the eclipse is a slight one, where less than half of the Sun is covered, a casual observer will not notice any significant drop in the ambient light. The light level can actually be measured qualitatively by recording the color and quality of the sky, and of any clouds which might be passing by. Record your results not just on the sky or clouds, but also on nearby objects and distant landforms.

If the partial eclipse is this deep, you are probably close to the edge of the path of totality, and a short drive might have gotten you into it. The situation is similar to the great eclipse that occurred over New York on January 24, 1925. People in lower Manhattan and Staten Island saw a very deep partial eclipse of the Sun under a clear and cold sky, with temperatures hovering near zero degrees F (–18 degrees C), bitterly cold. For these people, more than 99% of the Sun was obscured, and they might even had caught a good view of an extended showing of Baily’s beads as the Moon slid past the Sun.

Using Herbert Zim and Robert Baker’s hard-to-beat Golden Nature Guide Stars, I learned that eclipses take place when the Moon passes a particular place in its orbit around the Earth, a place called a node. The book explained how eclipses work, but more than anything else it impressed upon me the necessity to start watching for these events. The eclipse of 1959 was but an hors d’oeuvre or appetizer to whet the palate for larger and better eclipses to come. I learned from that book, for example, that a total eclipse would tear across eastern Canada in just four years, on July 20, 1963.

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