The Universe – Total Eclipse

“There is no dark side of the moon really. Matter of fact it’s all dark.”

Pink Floyd – “Eclipse”

I’m sure you all know about yesterday’s big Annular Solar Eclipse. Living in Ohio, I wasn’t able to see it live myself, but I did watch it streaming on both the SLOOH SpaceCamera and Scottys Sky on USTREAM sites. They also broke away from time to time to give us a view from above the LA Dodgers baseball game in Los Angeles. Amazing stuff!

I don’t know if you’re aware of it, but our being able to witness such an amazing phenomena is due to an incredible coincidence of orbital mechanics, history, and evolution. You see the moon hasn’t always been the distance from the Earth that it orbits at now. It was actually much, much closer at one time, and has been slowly moving away from us ever since. Eventually, it’ll be so far away that its apparent size relative to the sun won’t be large enough for a total eclipse to be possible.

What this means is that, in addition to the incredible luck you must have to be in just the right place and time to see one of these amazing spectacles, we just happen to have evolved far enough to be able to appreciate what we’re seeing during the only period in Earth’s history where such events can be witnessed at all! How’s that for Cosmic Synchronicity?

Anyway, it just so happens that one of my favorite science based shows – The Universe on H2 (History International) – decided to rebroadcast their Total Eclipse episode from their 5th season last night. Talk about everything you ever wanted to know about eclipses! Here’s how they described it:

”Once they were dreaded and thought to be dragons eating the sun–but modern science has dispelled mythology and we now look forward to total Solar Eclipses as one of the most spectacular phenomena in the heavens. Explore the complex movements of Earth, Moon and Sun that produce these unusual events and hear details why we may be the only intelligent beings in the known Universe to witness eclipses like we see on Earth. Man-made eclipses also figure into the science in the form of instruments called “coronagraphs.” They blot out the sun and reveal its corona, uncovering secrets which, while enlightening, also warn of a disaster that could make our advanced technology crash and burn. Finally, travel into deep space, where the tiny eclipses caused by planets circling distant stars is now beginning to reveal hundreds more stars where “exoplanets” exist… perhaps even those in habitable zones like the Earth.”

via “Total Eclipse” – The Universe Season 5 Episode Guide

Now the show was an hour long (viewable in around 44 minutes minus the commercials at Full Episode), but the “incredible coincidence” bit, as well as a detailed forecast for the next total eclipse to track across the full width of the U.S., are in the first two segments:

Total Eclipse – Part 3

Total Eclipse – Part 4

Total Eclipse – Part 5

And don’t forget to check out The Interactive Universe

BTW, Michelle, over at Motley News and Photos, was lucky enough to not only see it live but to take photos as well. You can see the first of them at The Parting Shot for May 20, 2012, and she’s promising more in a later post! 😀

I want ice water.

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14 thoughts on “The Universe – Total Eclipse

  1. Thanks for the link! I’m working on the photos. LOL… I actually was working on them last night and was so tired, I fell asleep in my office chair and was out cold until 6 AM. So I slept almost 6 hrs in my chair all night.

    I also took video of the entire eclipse – well up until it was phasing out then the sun started getting too dim for my camera and started looking like crap. That one is going to take some work since i had to keep repositioning the camera as the sun would drop out of the view of the camera. So it won’t be a clean time-lapse with the sun in the middle the entire time. I do have Adobe After Effects (special effects software) so I may be able to get it close to that but not entirely. I’ll have to figure something out with transitions so it doesn’t look like shit.

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    • You’re so much more than welcome Michelle! I see there are two new post notices from you in my inbox right now. I hadn’t intended to post this so early in the morning, but my stomach just wouldn’t let me sleep once I finished watching the show I mentioned so I had to say “what the hell.”. I have managed to get a couple of hours of sleep now, so I’ll be over soon to check out your latest! 😀

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