Label: Eclipse

May 22, 2012


Today’s "Cool photo of the week" is, of course, of Sunday’s Solar Eclipse. Readers in the western part of the US and Canada were in the right place to see the spectacular annular eclipse. "Annular" means "shaped like a ring," which is exactly how it appeared.

A solar eclipse happens when the moon is aligned directly between Earth and the Sun, blocking out all but an outer circle of light.








Photo: Getty Images

Diagram: NASA


Posted by: Seymour Simon

(8) Comments  •   Labels: Cool Photo, sun, Eclipse   •  Permalink (link to this article)

December 11, 2011



There was a full eclipse of the moon yesterday. Those of you on the west coast of the U.S. got a rare treat, as the lunar eclipse happened just at sunrise. Photographer John Harrison took this magnificent shot of the red moon above San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge in the blue morning sky.



These images are from Asia, where photographer Humza Mehbub shot a series of images of the lunar eclipse from Lahore, Pakistan. He started photographing Earth’s shadow slipping across the moon at 5:30 p.m., and continued photographing until 7:30 p.m. in Lahore, when the eclipse hit its peak and the moon glowed a deep orange.

I wasn’t able to see it because I live on the Atlantic coast, where it happened during the daytime and was not visible here. Did any of you photograph the eclipse? If you did, send in your photos - I’d love to see!

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(1) Comments  •   Labels: science news, moon, Eclipse   •  Permalink (link to this article)

January 4, 2011


OK, so I know we usually only highlight one special science or nature photo each week. But, this is such a spectacular sight, we just have to show you.


People in Europe and the Middle East were treated to a partial solar eclipse when the sun rose this morning. Because the moon was covering 85% of the sun, the sun rose as a crescent. This is not something that you see everyday!


This photo was taken by Peter Rosen in Stockholm, Sweden. There are many more amazing images at


Posted by: Liz Nealon

(6) Comments  •   Labels: science news, Astronomy, Cool Photo, Photography, Eclipse   •  Permalink (link to this article)

December 21, 2010

Nothing like setting your alarm for 3:10 am, only to discover that the skies were too overcast to see last night’s full lunar eclipse. We heard this from friends right across the U.S., unfortunately.

The good news is that NASA’s  Jet Propulsion Laboratory has posted hundreds of great photos - click here if you’d like to see more (SeeMore - get it? haha). 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(2) Comments  •   Labels: science news, Astronomy, Cool Photo, moon, Eclipse, Solstice   •  Permalink (link to this article)

December 20, 2010


We have nearly reached the longest night of the year here in the northern hemisphere. Tomorrow night, December 21 (or December 22 in some years), known as the "winter solstice," is also the day we consider to be the official beginning of winter. Solstice means "the sun stands still," and the winter solstice is the day when the midday sun is at its lowest point above the horizon. It seems to hover there, never rising very high in the sky, and then sets again - hence the idea that the sun is "standing still."  This happens because Earth is tilted on its axis in such a way that the northern hemisphere is pointing farther away from the sun than at any other time of the year.

This year’s "longest night" will be an even darker night than usual during a full moon (at least for some hours), because the arrival of the winter solstice coincides with a full eclipse of the moon in the early hours of December 21 (late tonight). And this lunar eclipse is going to be a beauty - visible to everyone in Northern and Central America (if the skies are clear and the weather cooperates).

Do you know what happens during a lunar eclipse?

Think about it. We see the full moon shining brightly in the sky because it is illuminated by the sun. What we call "moonlight" is really just sunlight reflected back at us from the moon. So, what would cause the full moon to suddenly go dark?

It could only happen if the sunlight were cut off.

And what could possible block sunlight from reaching Earth’s moon? That’s right, our planet EARTH itself! A lunar eclipse happens when the Sun, Earth and the Moon are all in a straight line, so that for a little over an hour, the moon is completely in the darkness of earth’s shadow.


It will not completely disappear - instead, it becomes

a deep, deep orange color. It takes 3 to 4 hours to

see the whole event from when the first shadow starts

to creep across the moon’s surface until it is fully

obscured, and then the shadow gradually recedes,

eventually leaving the full moon glowing in the sky again.



Here are the times, if you decide to stay up (or go to bed and then get up in the middle of the night) to see it.

Happy Winter Solstice, everyone!


Posted by: Seymour Simon

(2) Comments  •   Labels: science news, moon, Winter, Eclipse, Solstice   •  Permalink (link to this article)