Our Eclipse

Not wanting to drive eight hours to totality, we stayed in the comfort of our home in the Spokane area and watched the 2017 solar eclipse from our back yard. Our watching gear was somewhat patched together: a 20-year-old Celestron 8, a strip of styrofoam with a sheet of paper on it for the projection screen, and an old shirt, to prop up and shadow the styrofoam.

 

Hastily Assembled

The cloth is for cooling

First Light

First Bite — with sunspots

Turns out, you can get a fun view of hundreds of eclipses, by using the natural pinhole cameras from leaves.

And finally, maximum coverage

90% Covered

The light had a metallic edge to it, and the temperature dropped from 72F down to 66F. The press said that we’d get 90% of the sun covered in the Spokane region. So, ignoring things like limb-darkening, we were getting about 10% of normal radiation. My question was, where in the Solar System could one find light at this level? The formula is L = 1/D^2, where L is the amount of light compared to the Earth, and D is the distance in Astronomical Units (Earth to Sun distance). Doing a little bit of algebra to it, we find that the light level near Spokane was about what you would find at 3AU, about the orbital radius of main belt asteroid Ceres.

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2 Responses to “Our Eclipse”

  1. zencat2 Says:

    Thank you! I wish I had thought of eclipse leaves! It was delightful being on Ceres for the short visit.

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