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  • Sara Thompson

Total Solar Eclipse on Monday, April 8

by Vinita Domier

Photo Credit Davis Astronomy Club

NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador

 

Please join the Davis Astronomy Club at the Explorit Science Center (3141 5th Street, Davis) on Saturday, March 30, from 5:30 - 9:30pm for a free special meeting to discuss the upcoming 2024 total solar eclipse occurring on Monday, April 8. The next total solar eclipses visible from the USA will be on March 30, 2033 and August 23, 2044. 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.

 

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. 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 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 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.

 

There will be free special and safe viewings of the Sun, weather permitting, before the March 30 meeting from 5:30 - 6:30pm and during the solar eclipse event 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. On March 30, we will begin the evening with safe solar viewing (weather permitting) starting at 5:30pm. At 6:30pm, there will be a presentation indoors about eclipses in general and solar eclipses in particular, followed by a star party outside (again, weather permitting). We will be handing out free items courtesy of NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador Program.

 

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

 

Explorit's coming events:

 

•       Explorit is open Fridays from 1-4pm and Saturday and Sundays from 10am-2pm. The current exhibit is “Our WILD World”. Admission is $5 per person, free for Explorit Members and those aged 2 and under.

•       Summer Science Camps are back for 2024! Registration is $185 for Members, $210 for Non-Members. More information and registration can be found at https://www.explorit.org/camps.

•       April 13-14, Nature Detectives. In recognition of National Park Week, visitors will get to explore skulls, pelts, and track casts from 40 species from North America, courtesy of Kaotic Mythicals.

•       Save the Date! Saturday, May 4th. Science Expo at Explorit!

•       A Membership to Explorit grants the recipient free visits to Explorit’s regular public hours, discounts on events, summer camps, and gives you ASTC benefits to visit other museums throughout the world.  To purchase or for more information visit https://www.explorit.org/membership.

 

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