Edition 03 of the Astronomy On-line Newspaper

Provisional report from the October 12 Solar Eclipse

The Solar Eclipse reached almost 40 percent in Portugal. This marvellous image series is courtesy of Antonio Cidadao, Portugal, who handled all the observational tasks singlehandedly - including broadcast of the eclipse on the Internet as desrcibed below. The times for the different images are here (in UT): 13:11, 13:16, 13:21, 13:27 13:30, 13:36, 13:41, 13:46, 13:52, 13:56, 14:01, 14:06, 14:11, 14:16, 14:21, 14:26, 14:31, 14:36, 14:41, 14:46, 14:51, 14:56, 14:01, 15:06, 15:11, 15:16, 15:21, 15:26, 15:31, 15:36 and 15:41. Click on the picture to display a larger version (JPEG, 46k).

The October 12 Solar Eclipse will for sure remain a very special event in the minds of the thousands of participating Astronomy On-Line students, teachers, amateur astronomers and professionals all over Europe.

Parts of Scandinavia were clouded out during the event on Saturday, e.g. Finland, Norway, and parts of Denmark - but most of central Europe was under influence of a high-pressure region entering from the South Atlantic. Bulgaria had heavy fog. In Portugal the morning was very foggy, but the fog lifted just in time.

Here follow some impressions from the different groups around Europe:

Please send your own contribution as soon as possible. Read about more results in the Bulletins during the coming days!

Distance to the Moon determined!

So far, most of the received results are within 380 000 km +/- 10 percent! Some calculated distances are a bit too high - some too low.

First ever international live transmissions of a Solar eclipse

The Danish part of the live transmission collaboration got these 18 images of most of the eclipse. The times for the images are given here (in UT): 13:07, 13:12, 13:17, 13:22, 13:27, 13:32, 13:37, 13:42, 13:47, 13:52, 13:57, 14:02, 14:07, 14:13, 14:24, 14:26, 14:29 and 14:32.

During the eclipse itself, live pictures were shown some places on Internet.

Both the MIRA and the Copenhagen Site had lot of requests. The Copenhagen Homepage was unique by showing images from 2 locations simultaneously - Portugal and Denmark. On the latter "Solar eclipse TRANS-Europe observation homepage" Antonio Cidadao from the very active Portuguese Amateur Society APAA (previously partners on the EAAE Comet Hyakutake Parallax event - See Sky & Telescope, July 1996) displayed real time CCD images, together with images taken by students from Astronomical Observatory at the University of Copenhagen. The Danish students had slightly hazy skies until shortly after the maximum when a massive cloud cover unfortunately came in from West. The same cloud cover had earlier that morning closed over Soenderborg, Denmark, where the third party of the live transmission resides. The disappointed students there regained their spirit by doing On-Line calculations of the lunar distance. The applied method was the 2D method described here in Astronomy On-Line, the result was better than 10 percent off the official value.

This unique combination of international, simultaneous eclipse images turned out to be a likely first of its kind. It is a clear textbook demonstration of the astronomical term parallax. Because Denmark is placed higher on the Globe when compared to Portugal, the Danish Astronomy On-Line group experienced the Moon as lower in the sky than the Portuguese team.

More than a thousand visitors at Tycho Brahe Planetarium in Copenhagen enjoyed most of the eclipse (before the clouds), and watched the parallax effect in the Internet images on a large format screen in the exhibition area. Explanations were given partly by the Director and the astronomers from the University.

The internet communication we experienced within Astronomy On-Line was a great help to those groups who were clouded out. As Milcho Tsvetkov from overcast Bulgaria writes: We have to express our deep thanks to the colleagues from Denmark and Portugal who organized this so impressive observation of the solar eclipse via networking.

Also e-mails from different parts of Europe were received by the groups during the eclipse. All with positive thoughts about the work.

We are absolutely breathless of the fabulous results produced by this European collaboration. Watch closely for Astronomy On-line news bulletins in the near future with more results from this wonderful astronomical event.

As Bent Klarmark from Denmark and his astronomy-dedicated students stated, when they observed the high lunar mountains in silhoutte against the solar limb: Scientifically GREAT experience, in all aspects. Together with the beautiful autumn nature scenery, it made us all remember the grandness of space, and the modesty of mankind.

Some Interesting links

  • http://www.eso.org/astronomyonline/news/aol-bull08.html
  • Movie from Antonio Cidadao, Portugal - should be coming soon: http://www.skypub.com/whatsup/acmovies.html.

    Mogens Winther, Soenderborg Amtsgymnasium

    Lars Lindberg Christensen, Tycho Brahe Planetarium and Astronomical Observatory, University of Copenhagen

    Astronomy On-line | EAAE | ESO | Help | Search
    Last update: Oct 15, 1996