Annular Eclipse Coming Up This Weekend

We Earthlings have already been treated to nice meteor showers as well as a magnificent supermoon, and this weekend brings an annular solar eclipse.

That’s not even the best treat: Venus will be ambling between Earth and the sun in a rare (though non-earth-shattering) planetary alignment. Sure, the event might look like a black pimple floating across the face of the sun, but this celestial rarity once guided adventurous astronomers in their quest to determine the size of the solar system and yielded the first-ever global scientific collaboration. Don’t blink—Venus doesn’t cross our path again until December 2117.


A solar eclipse happens this Sunday, except for the Eastern seaboard (sorry). It’s an “annular” eclipse rather than a total one, which means the sun’s edges peek out from behind the moon, creating the illusion of a ring of fire. (The word “annular” comes from the Latin word for ring.) The lower 48 states will have to wait until Aug. 17, 2017, for a total shutout. This weekend’s eclipse

begins at dawn in southern China. It then sweeps across the Pacific Ocean, passing south of Alaska, and makes landfall on the Pacific coast near the California-Oregon border. It ends near Lubbock, Texas, at sunset. Partial phases of this eclipse will be visible over most of western North America. (May 9, Space.com)

Those of you in the annular path should head to higher ground (avoiding clouds and light pollution) and put solar filters either over your eyes or on your equipment. Thirty-three national parks will be hosting solar gatherings. Lucky Coloradans get to hang out for free at the University of Colorado at Boulder’s Folsom stadium, starting 5:30 p.m. local time, thanks to the Fiske Planetarium.

Designer sunglasses don’t cut it. At this late date, check telescope stores or call your local planetarium. No. 14 welder’s glass, carried in specialty welding stores, works too.

Will you be watching for the annular eclipse this weekend? Tell us of your previous sightings!

Source: Yahoo News

Image: ABC News

Does The Full Moon Really Make People Crazy?

The biggest full moon of the year will rise Saturday (May 5) as Earth’s only satellite swings into its perigee, or closest approach to Earth. This so-called “supermoon” will appear extra big and extra bright. In honor of the moon’s big show, we’re dispelling a few myths about the Earth’s rocky satellite:

Myth 1: The Moon Makes Us Crazy

The word lunacy traces its roots to the word “lunar,” and plenty of people, from nurses to police officers, will tell you that things get wild around the full moon. But this non-supernatural equivalent of the werewolf myth doesn’t hold water. A 1985 review of the literature on the timing of mental illness and the moon found that the folklore that links the full moon with mental breakdowns, criminal behavior and other disturbances has no basis in scientific data.


Myth 2: The Supermoon Can Cause Disasters

The reason we have supermoons is because the moon’s orbit is not perfectly circular. When it swings closer to Earth on its elliptical path, the moon does exert a bit more of a gravitational pull on our planet. But it’s nothing Earth can’t handle.

Myth 3: The Moon Landing Was a Hoax

As thinly sourced as it is, the hoax theories can be frustrating to those who risked their lives to get to the moon. In 2002, Buzz Aldrin, one of the members of the original 1969 Apollo 11 mission, was dogged by conspiracy theorist Bart Sibrel at an event. When Sibrel blocked Aldrin’s path and called him a “coward” and a “liar,” the then-72-year-old astronaut punched Sibrel in the face.

What other myths about the moon have you encountered? Feel free to share them with us!

Source: Yahoo News

Image: Science & Myth