Edition 04 of the Astronomy On-line Newspaper

More results from the Solar Eclipse

Reports keep coming in from groups who have observed the solar eclipse on October 12, 1996. The European Students Project Group has been busy putting everything together for a complete report about this work, but we are still not quite ready.

List of observations

Nevertheless, we bring here, in a separate file, the updated list of observations, as received to date. It contains details about the observing conditions and also some of the actual results from most sites where such observations were made or at least attempted.

As you may find in this data file - the results are generally close to the official lunar distance. Our results are most promising!

Added on October 24: A special webpage with Results from the Solar Eclipse has been established.

Some preliminary results

As can be seen from the list, a number of groups have also been able to estimate the angular dimensions of the solar/lunar images.

The Orion Group in Ystad got a 133 mm solar disk width when applying the mirror method at 14.3 meters!

Applying some trigonometry, this gives a diameter close to 0.53 degrees - close t the true value is 0.54 degrees!

Similar impressive results were obtained by the class 6A in Vienna - here the mirror method was applied out to a distance of 27,2 meters!

Their solar disk of 25 cm translates into a similar angular solar diameter of 0.53 degrees!


What is the lunar diameter?

Assuming a Lunar Distance of 407 000 km - this translates into a 1.order approximation : 407 000 km x tan(0.53 deg) = 3800 km.

The resulting lunar diameter of 3800 km is very close to the true value: 3476 km. Thus, the deviation is less than 10 percent!

Please report your observations!

Would the remaining groups please link us your images - for instance in GIF format (not larger than 35 K) - and also send us any additional data as soon as possible!

If you have still not sent in your report, please do not hesitate any longer to do so! We would like to finalize the joint report as soon as possible, including the associated calculation of the Moon's diameter and distance.

The first estimates seem to be fine, with the expected dispersion of the observed values around the true values. The collected material is excellent and will be incorporated into an exercise that will be very useful for future use and which will testify to the skill and imagination of all participating groups!

You will soon hear from us again!

Mogens Winther
Soenderborg Amtsgymnasium

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Last update: Oct 24, 1996