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Historic Total Solar Eclipse and Annual Perseid Meteor shower!

This article appeared in the August 11, 2017 edition of the Davis Enterprise.

Historic Total Solar Eclipse and Annual Perseid Meteor shower!

The Perseid Meteor Shower on August 12, 2016 in Spruce Knob, West Virginia. Photo by NASA on The Commons.

 

By Vinita Domier

Special to the Enterprise

 

Join the Davis Astronomy Club at Explorit Science Center on Saturday, August 12 at 7:30 p.m. where we will discuss the two big celestial events of August 2017: the annual Perseid meteor shower that peaks on August 11-12 and the historic solar eclipse on August 21 that will be visible across the USA.

 

After the discussion indoors, there will be a star party outdoors, weather permitting. All meetings of the Davis Astronomy Club are free, and everyone is invited.

 

The solar eclipse on Monday, August 21 will be visible from the west to the east coast of the USA. Only viewers fortunate enough to be in a narrow 70-mile wide region from central Oregon to South Carolina will get to experience a very rare total solar eclipse event where 100% of the sun will be in the moon’s shadow.

 

Observers in the totality band will see progressively more of the sun being obscured by the moon’s shadow. In a little over an hour, the resulting partial solar eclipse will gradually grow from 0% to 100% at totality. During the brief 2 minutes of totality, day will turn into night and bright stars and planets will be visible in the sky and the horizon will look like it does during a sunset.

 

During the brief moments of totality, the usually invisible outer regions of the sun known as the corona will be observable. Solar flares and prominences can also be seen if the sun is an active phase. Following totality, the sun will gradually come out of the moon’s shadow in about an hour or so and the day will return to normal.

 

As the Davis/Sacramento region lies south of the band of totality, viewers will observe a maximum of ~80% partial solar eclipse that will begin at 9:02 a.m., peak at 10:17 a.m. when the sun will appear crescent shaped and end at 11:39 a.m.

 

To avoid permanent eye damage, special eclipse-safe eyewear or telescope/binoculars equipped with solar filters are required to directly view the solar eclipse during all times except during the brief moments of totality. Indirect viewing of the solar eclipse can be done by projecting the image of the sun through a pin hole aperture onto a white paper or screen.

 

The annual Perseid meteor shower will be ideal for viewing on Friday, August 11 and Saturday, August 12 nights. The Perseids is the most watched meteor shower as they consistently provide good viewing of 'shooting stars' during warm summer nights. This year, the moonlight will make viewing less than ideal during the late nights and early mornings. All you need to watch these fireworks in the sky are clear dark skies with unobstructed view from horizon to horizon.

 

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Explorit’s coming events:

 

●      Save the date of Sunday, August 27 for Explorit’s annual end of summerScience Blast celebration, a full day of fun for the whole community.

●      Explorit’s Exploration Gallery is open to the public every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, 1:00-5:00 p.m. and every Friday, 3:00-6:00 p.m.  Admission is $5.00 per person; Explorit members, teachers and children 2 and under are free. Come check out the new Nano Mini Exhibition.

 

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Explorit Science Center is located at 3141 5th St. For more information call (530) 756-0191 or visit http://www.explorit.org, or “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/explorit.fb.

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