Thursday, July 22, 2010

Remote solar eclipse seen almost everywhere - even at sunset in Patagonia

Nowhere along the track of the total solar eclipse of July 11 had the weather statistics been great - and yet a majority of those undeterred eclipse chasers who made it into the zone of totality seems to have been successful in seeing the glorious corona which, with the solar cycle on the increase, has become more complex again. All along Polynesia it had been touch-and-go w.r.t. local cloudiness, and sometimes a few kilometers made a difference, and even three ships had to struggle, while on Rapa Nui it had rained for 2 days before mostly clear skies met the eclipse. The greatest surprise, however, awaited observers in Argentina's Patagonia region where the clearest skies imaginable permitted perfect views of the eclipsed Sun at 1.5° elevation while a dramatic shadow sky show played above. Which came as a huge relief in particular for those who had expected to board a plane here for an eclipse flight - which was broken and couldn't fly ...The eclipse was also used by PROBA 2 (which saw it partially from orbit) for science. More reports and pictures can be found here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here (more). Some news reports are linked here (with more pre-eclipse coverage linked here); there are CNN Chile's live coverage, an ITN clip and stories by the Daily Telegraph (more), Thilinaheenatigala, ZEIT, Area Voices, BBC, Discovery, Lippeblatt, La Razon, Clarin, La Nacion and El Mercurio. No sightings of comet McNaught (a last view of June 29) were reported. Also links regarding the last TSE (Indian sites) and detail images of the Sun from July 21, July 20 (more and SDO detail) and July 16. And with other variable stars updates for Eps Aur (middle of eclipse) and Del Sco (bright).

In other news The bright star occultation by asteroid Roma was well observed, though the published track was a bit off: a AstroTreff thread, chords (only from good data), individual videos and reports here, here and here and early impressions. As expected the large angular size of the star caused shallow flanks in the light curves. • An optical dust trail of comet 10P/Tempel can be seen right now with the Earth crossing the orbital plane as these [alt.] and these pictures show. • There seems to be a new impact crater in Egypt, while Nemesis is even more unlikely now (more, more, more).

• Great pics of Jupiter and its large moons were obtained in recent days, on July 22, July 21, July 20 (b/w) and July 19 - and a July 16 pic of Uranus also shows detail! • There is now a seamless picture of the whole sky with one terapixel resolution from the DSS, also explained here and here. • The first IR sky survey by WISE is completed and the next one is running (more, more and more). • A nice narrated slide-show on NLCs and an attempt to predict them plus observations of July 15/16 (more), July 9 (more), July 4/5 and July 3/4, also a space picture of the layer, a panorama and videos here, here, here and here. • Finally a Chinese UFO story quickly evaporated.

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