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DAVIS ASTRONOMY CLUB
at Explorit

The Astronomy Club has been a part of Explorit Science Center since 1987.
It has no dues and anyone can join. Our members range in knowledge of astronomy from pre-school to post-doctorate.


Several evenings a year the Davis Astronomy Club meets at Explorit on 5th Street, to discuss astronomy topics of continuing interest,  or to prepare for important celestial events. Special observation sessions for such events as eclipses and meteor showers are held where members are encouraged to bring their scopes.

To become a member or for more information contact Vinita Domier at vcdomier@yahoo.com.

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Earth

What Does this Club Offer You?

If you have always been fascinated by the heavens or the exploration of outer space but haven't known how to start your own astronomical journey--this is the club for you. We have shown many aspiring stargazers their ‘first’ constellation, their ‘first’ double star, where the planets are and how to use a telescope. We can help you decide on the best binoculars, telescopes, computer programs and star atlases, and help you decide what you need and (more importantly don’t need) to enjoy and discover the cosmos. This club can be your ‘training wheels’ so you can finally begin exploring the universe at your own speed and in your own direction. We can even show you how your observations can be used for scientific research, if that is your goal. In short, this club aims to be a friendly ‘launch pad’ for your personal exploration of astronomy.


The Astronomy Club not only benefits its members, but the larger goals of Explorit as well.  Working with school teachers and youth groups such as the Scouts and Campfire, the club has introduced hundreds--if not thousands--to the cosmos. Helping others to observe, communicate, reason, organize, and relate information about the sun, moon, planets and stars brings many rewards for Club volunteers. Among these rewards are: finding new friends, learning the theories, facts and processes of science, and discovering new perspectives on ourselves and the cosmos.

For more current information, please contact Vinita Domier at vcdomier@yahoo.com.

Total Solar Eclipse on Monday, April 8, 2024

by Vinita Domier (vcdomier@yahoo.com)
NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador

Courtesy of NASA.gov. This 3D visualization of the 2024 total eclipse is built with real science data, and shows the shadow of the Moon on Earth. NASA/JPL-Caltech/VTAD

On April 8, a total solar eclipse phenomenon will be experienced by observers in parts of Mexico, U.S.A, and Canada. Observers in the narrow 115 miles-wide totality band spanning 13 U.S.A. states from Texas to Maine will experience totality for 2 – 4.5 minutes, depending on their locations. Observers outside the totality band will experience a partial solar eclipse, with decreasing percentage of the Sun obscured the further they are located from the totality path.

Locally, observers will experience a partial solar eclipse that will commence at 10:16am, peak at 11:16am when 34% of the Sun will be obscured by the Moon, and end at 12:18pm. More information about the solar eclipse is available at the following link: https://science.nasa.gov/eclipses/future-eclipses/eclipse-2024/

Eclipses are special solar system events and total solar eclipses are the most special and awe-inspiring of them of all. A solar eclipse can occur when the Moon is at or near the new moon phase when it is between the Sun and the Earth. The Moon is able to completely obscure or cover the Sun during a total solar eclipse because coincidently, the Moon is about 400X smaller than the Sun but is also 400X closer to Earth than the Sun, resulting in the Moon and the Sun appearing around the same angular size in the sky.

The straight-line alignment of the Sun-Moon-Earth in space does not occur at every new moon because the Moon’s orbital plane is inclined by 5º to the Earth/Sun’s orbital plane resulting in the Moon usually being just above or below the alignment. Furthermore, this straight-line alignment is only possible every six months during the Earth’s 12-month long orbit revolving around the Sun.

Viewing the Sun, at all times, must be done using safe ‘eclipse glasses’ or with special solar filters as direct exposure to the Sun’s rays can cause permanent eye damage. The only exception to that rule is during the totality phase of a total solar eclipse because during that brief period the Moon completely blocks out the Sun.

The next total solar eclipses visible from the USA will be on March 30, 2033 (in Alaska) and August 23, 2044 (in Montana and the Dakotas). As the Sun is near its solar maximum when its activity peaks in a 11-year cycle, there are also numerous sunspots and solar flares to observe with proper equipment.

There will be free special and safe viewings of the Sun, weather permitting,  on April 8, from 10am - 12:30pm, at the Mace Ranch Park in Davis by the Explorit Science Center. All ages are welcome to these free events. 

For more information, please contact Vinita Domier at vcdomier@yahoo.com.
 

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