5 Reasons to Go

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You get to see one one of the most amazing natural phenomena

You get to see one one of the most amazing natural phenonoma - A total solar eclipse is one of the most amazing natural phenonema that you'll ever see. There's nothing else quite like it. Every eclipse is a different length - which is one of the most noticeable differences from eclipse to eclipse. As totality approaches, the environment noticably changes. Temperature drops of over 10 degrees are not unusual. You'll be able to see "Bailey Beeds" - which is where light from the sun breaks through the uneven surface of the moon. The diamond ring effect marks the beginning and end of totality as a bright flash of light and is one of the most amazing parts of the eclipse. 

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You get to travel all over the world

The next total eclipses will be visible in such places as Queensland in 2012, Spiztzbergen in 2015, Indonesia in 2015, across the mainland United States in 2017 and, finally, Chile / Argentina in 2019. That doesn't include annular or partial eclipses. We've already been to South Australia (2002), Turkey (2006) and China in 2009 and Hao Atoll (Tahiti) in 2010 for totality. You don't get too much more diverse than that. 

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A different experience every time

The environment noticably changes during an eclipse. If animals are around (as they were in China) they'll make preparations to goto sleep as though it were night time - in contrast there were no animals during our trip toTurkey in 2006. With totality approaching, the temprature will drop noticeably - 10 degrees is not unusual. Shadow bands (wavy lines of alternating light and dark) are often also present during solar eclipses – they were very noticeable in Turkey and not present at all at Hangzhou. Shadows cast on the ground will appear to be much harsher than usual and the edges will be very well defined.

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Eclipses aren't just for astronomers

Right enough, the "Instrument Wallahs" will be there - but don't let that put you off and don't disturb them when they're setting up their kit or during totality. (You have been warned!) Trust me on this - the spectacle of seeing one of the worlds most phenomenal, errr, phenoma (different every time!) while globe-trotting around the world isn't enough to keep you happy then there's no helping you. You don't have to be an astronomer to appreciate the spectacle or change in enviornment. 

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Photographic challenge

Practice safe sun (your retina is delicate and irreplaceable) if you want to observe or photograph any eclipse. There's several ways you can approach this challenge. Even with a simple point and shoot-type camera, it's possible to get some pretty good shots of the environment. Peruse eclipse pictures on Flickr for an idea of what you can achieve. A long lens and tripod are necessary if you want to photograph the eclipse itself - but the efforts are usually worth it. 

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Eclipse Lectures by:


Donald Goldsmith received his Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of California, Berkeley in 1969. He taught at Stony Brook University before becoming a full-time popularizer, and has written, co-written, or edited 18 books on astronomy and physics. His book "Origins," co-written with Neil Tyson, was the companion volume to the four-hour PBS series with the same title. Dr. Goldsmith worked on Carl Sagan's "COSMOS" series, and on Neil Tyson's series of the same name, and was the science editor and co-writer of the six-part PBS series "THE ASTRONOMERS." He has written many popular articles for journals such as Scientific American, Natural History, Discover, and Astronomy. Dr. Goldsmith has seen ten total solar eclipses, including those for which he was an astronomy guide in Zambia, Hawaii, Chile, and the Galapagos Islands.

About Solar Eclipse

  • Glossary of Terms
  • FAQ About Solar Eclipse
  • Types of Solar Eclipses

annular eclipse - A solar eclipse in which the Moon's antumbral shadow traverses Earth (the Moon is too far from Earth to completely cover the Sun). During the maximum phase of an annular eclipse, the Sun appears as a blindingly bright

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What is a Solar Eclipse ?

An eclipse of the sun occurs when the moon revolving in its orbit around the earth comes between the sun and the earth. The moon blocks the light of the sun and a shadow of

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There are four types of solar eclipses:

  1. A total eclipse occurs when the Sun is completely obscured by the Moon. The intensely bright disk of the Sun is replaced by the dark silhouette of the Moon, and the much fainter
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