Watch Tuesday’s Total Solar Eclipse LIVE On Your Laptop

The path of Wednesday's total solar eclipse cuts a narrow path across the Pacific Ocean and the island nation of Indonesia. Outside the path, a much broader partial eclipse will be visible. Credit: Fred Espenak, NASA GFSC
The path of Wednesday’s total solar eclipse cuts a narrow path across the Pacific Ocean and the island nation of Indonesia. Outside the path, a much broader partial eclipse will be visible. Times shown are Universal Time (Greenwich). The fractions 0.20 (20%), 0.40 (40%) and so on represent the percent of the sun covered for the much more widely visible partial eclipse.  Credit: Fred Espenak, NASA GFSC

Used to be you had to BE THERE to see a total solar eclipse, a rare event for any particular location. Not anymore. Now you just fire up the laptop or tap a phone and watch it live from your couch. Of course it’s not the same as making the journey, but the chances of me flying to Indonesia on a dime are slim indeed. The eclipse occurs along a narrow track mostly over the western Pacific, touching land in the Indonesian islands  of Sumatra, Sulawesi, Borneo and parts of Micronesia.

During a solar eclipse, the moon passes directly between the sun and Earth. The dark inner shadow or umbra travels across the Earth as the moon moves in its orbit. Anyone in this narrow part of the moon's shadow sees a total eclipse. Th
During a solar eclipse, the moon passes directly between the sun and Earth. The dark inner shadow or umbra travels across the Earth as the moon moves in its orbit. Anyone in this narrow “shadow beam” sees a total eclipse. Those in the outer part of the shadow, called the penumbra, see a partial eclipse. Credit: Sagredo

Lucky skywatchers will see the lunar disk blank out the sun for up to 3 1/2 minutes during mid to late morning hours on Wednesday March 9th. For the U.S., that’s around 8 p.m. Central time Tuesday evening March 8. A partial eclipse will be visible across a much broader region including New Guinea, parts of China, Australia and Hawaii. Citizens of Hawaii’s capitol, Honolulu, will see 63% of the sun covered at 5:37 p.m. local time Tuesday at maximum eclipse.

1999 total solar eclipse visible from France. During totality, the moon completely covers the sun, so it's safe to look up and take in the sun's spectacular corona and red, flame-like prominence around its limb. Credit: Luc Viatour
1999 total solar eclipse photographed in France. During totality, the moon completely covers the sun, so it’s safe to look up and take in the spectacular corona and red, flame-like prominences encircling the solar limb. Credit: Luc Viatour

The rest of us can watch it live thanks to the herculean efforts of two groups. San Francisco’s Exploratorium will collaborate with NASA and the National Science Foundation to live stream the event from Woleai, Micronesia. The 3-hour-plus webcast begins on Tuesday at 6 p.m. CST (7 p.m. Eastern, 5 p.m. Mountain, 4 p.m. Pacific and midnight Universal Time). You can follow their adventures by visiting the team’s blog.

The SLOOH online observatory will also be setting up shop with astronomer Paul Cox, who will travel to the remote countryside of Indonesia to livestream the eclipse starting at 5 p.m. CST (6 p.m. EST, 4 p.m. MST, 3 p.m. PST and 11 p.m. Universal Time). Cox will be accompanied by Astronomy magazine writer Bob Berman and a team from the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands (IAC), and will provide updates of his journey throughout the week on Slooh, according to the website.

Nice as electronic viewing is, many of us can’t wait to see a total eclipse in the flesh. We’ll finally get our wish in a little more than a year, when the moon’s shadow crosses the U.S. on August 21, 2017.

 

 

 

3 Responses

  1. caralex

    Bob, my question is not related to this post, but couldn’t find an Apollo post to attach it to, so apologies in advance! 😀

    I was just looking at a map of the Apollo landing sites from one of your articles, (http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/celestial-objects-to-watch/moon/how-to-see-all-six-apollo-moon-landing-sites/) and was wondering why Apollo 12 and 14 landed so close to each other. Although they’re not exactly side by side, with the whole moon at their disposal, why did NASA choose to land them in more or less the same area?

    1. astrobob

      Hi Carol,
      One of the main goals of Apollo 12 was to demonstrate the ability to make a pinpoint landing, so having Surveyor 3 as the destination made sense because of its precisely known location. They also hoped to sample ejecta from Copernicus at that location. With Apollo 14, NASA was interested in sampling impact ejecta from the young Mare Imbrium basin. You can read more here for Apollo 12 (http://www.lpi.usra.edu/lunar/missions/apollo/apollo_12/landing_site/) and Apollo 14 (http://www.lpi.usra.edu/lunar/missions/apollo/apollo_14/landing_site/)

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