Saturday, November 9, 2013

Solar Eclipse

When the moon passes between the Sun and the Earth, sunlight headed for the Earth is fully or partially blocked. This phenomenon is a Solar Eclipse.

The celestial configuration for a full or partial eclipse is described by the astronomy term syzygy. Syzygy is from the Ancient Greek suzugos meaning yoked together. To astronomers a syzygy is a straight-line alignment of three celestial bodies.

Sunrise Partial Eclipse by independent filmmaker Steve Ellington.

In a time-lapse sequence made by Steve Ellington of a November partial eclipse, the rising Sun is blocked by a rising Moon (video above).
“I cannot cause light; the most I can do is try to put myself in the path of its beam. It is possible, in deep space, to sail on solar wind. Light, be it particle or wave, has force: you can rig a giant sail and go. The secret of seeing is to sail on solar wind. Hone and spread your spirit till you yourself are a sail, whetted, translucent, broadside to the merest puff”
Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
The same November eclipse shown above is shown in a NASA animation looking back at the earth (right).

The NASA Catalog of Solar Eclipses: 2001 to 2100 provides information on past and future eclipses.
“We are star stuff harvesting sunlight.”
Carl Sagan