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26 February 2017 – Annular Solar Eclipse

On 26 February 2017 is the next solar eclipse which will be visible from the Southern Atlantic Ocean. It starts from the lower southern part of South America and follows a narrow path until it hits Angola in Africa. The peak will reach at 9:54 AM EST. What is a solar eclipse? A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes in a direct line between the Earth and the sun. The moon’s shadow travels over the Earth’s surface and blocks out the sun’s light as seen from Earth. An annular eclipse occurs when the Sun and Moon are exactly in line, but the apparent size of the Moon is smaller than that of the Sun. Hence the Sun appears as a very bright ring surrounding the dark disk of the Moon. What do you need to see it? At the point of its greatest duration, the February 26 Annular solar eclipse will last just 1 minute and 22 seconds, so it’s important to be ready. It is dangerous to look directly at the Sun, observers should use special eye protection or indirect viewing techniques when viewing any eclipse. WARNING: When looking at a solar eclipse, never look directly at the continue reading…

Light Pollution Map – The Milky Way in its Glory

usa light pollution map

The Milky Way Galaxy is a beautiful, amazing place. The wondrous sight that can be experienced when you look up at the night sky is truly incredible: but it is unfortunately nearly impossible to see in the modern world. With the many lights of our many cities and metropolises, seeing the night sky as it used to be in ages past is barely possible anymore. This is because of a phenomenon called light pollution, in which the ambient light of earth’s many cities makes it almost impossible to see the true night sky. This is a real shame, as the beauty of the galaxy above us is truly outstanding. But thankfully, there are places you can reach in this world that does not have as much light pollution to ruin that view. The only thing you need to figure out where those locations are is a map. Having a map for the places in the good old USA is important, and not something you would necessarily expect. However, there is indeed a map for this sort of thing, and with it you can find out where the best places to view the Milky Way really are. The light pollution map, continue reading…

Why Should People Care about Seeing the Milky Way?

If you look out to the night sky, it’s very easy to focus on the planets. It’s easy to get taken in by the beauty of the moon. It’s also fairly easy to be in awe of the natural world. You look up at the sky, and it looks like a black, dark, and rich blanket; even velvety, stretching forever. There is one part of the scene that truly helps people explore their sense of meaning and possibility; not just in the world, but in the galaxy. When you look to the stars, you would see parts of the Milky Way. This is the section of the universe that we live in. The Milky Way is our home galaxy. It’s composed of lots and lots of stars. According to a recent count, it has over 200 billion stars. Think about that for a second. Looking at the sun, it’s easy to think that we are the center of the universe. We have this sun that rises and sets like clockwork. Everything in our lives and in the natural world seems to flow from the schedule of the sun. It’s too easy to believe that we are the only intelligent creatures continue reading…

6 Reasons Why You Should Be Excited About the Milky Way

It’s really easy to think that our galaxy is just something that exists out there. It’s so big and vast; it’s hard to connect to it in any emotional way. Most human beings process reality on an emotional level. Most of us would not want to admit this, and continue with the fiction that we make our decisions purely on a logical and rational basis. That’s the story we tell ourselves, but according to several scientific studies, most human beings arrive at decisions based on impulse or emotional triggers. Logic and rationality are not part of the equation usually. However, when you ask them how they came to a certain decision, they would always search for a reason that seems logical. We try to rationalize what ultimately are impulsive or purely emotional decisions. This scientific truth highlights the fact that human beings often perceive something as real only if it impacts on their emotions. It’s not surprising our relationship with our galaxy, the Milky Way, is quite distant. Maybe in your busy daily life, you have the luxury of staring up at the sky, and appreciate the moon. That may be as far as it goes. This really is too continue reading…