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Eclipse and Planet Transit resources

This page is unabashedly focused on phenomena visible from North America, especially the Western US, i.e., things I might actually get to see. For more globally complete information, please see NASA’s eclipse website and MrEclipse.com for eclipses, and NASA’s planetary transit page and the interactive maps on Xavier Jubier’s site for planetary transits. I’ll flesh out the details for future events more fully as the dates get closer.

I initially created this page to hold resources for the 2012 annular eclipse of the sun and transit of Venus. You can still find all of that information below under Past Events.

You may also like my page on how to safely observe the sun. If you find any dead links, or better resources that I should be linking to, please let me know!

Future Events

2017

Total solar eclipse on August 21.

2018

Total lunar eclipse on January 31.

2019

Total lunar eclipse on January 20.

Transit of Mercury across the sun on November 11.

Past Events

2016

Transit of Mercury across the sun on May 9: my observing report.

2015

Total lunar eclipse on April 4: my observing report.

Total lunar eclipse on September 28. I watched this one, but the conditions were not good and I didn’t post an observing report for it.

2014

Total lunar eclipse on October 8: my observing report.

Partial solar eclipse on October 23: my observing report, and coverage in the local paper.

2012

DATES TO REMEMBER

  • May 20 – annular eclipse of the sun over western US – Update: my photos and an observing report on the eclipse are in this post.
  • June 4 – lunar eclipse
  • June 5/6 – transit of Venus – Update: my observing report and photos are here.

ECLIPSES

There is a ton of information on the eclipses at MrEclipse.com, which is one of the best online resources for all things eclipse-related.

For the annular eclipse on May 20, see this guide from Fred Espenak and NASA and the interactive Google map on this page. For those on the west coast, the eclipse will occur around 5:30 PM, Pacific Time.

For the lunar eclipse on June 4, see this all-in-one-page document from Espenak/NASA. Update: the lunar eclipse was clouded out from Claremont.

TRANSIT OF VENUS

Transit of Venus .org is probably the most comprehensive online resource for the upcoming transit, with links to tons of other transit sites and resources. There is a lot of information on the NASA page as well.

Astronomers Without Borders have an excellent transit page and blog going here. Particularly useful is their Local transit times page, which will show you the timing and path of Venus in front of the sun depending on your location. Here’s a screenshot of the map I generated for Claremont, California:

Note that the transit will still be in progress when the sun sets at 8:00 PM, so I’ll see about 80% of the transit (assuming no clouds!) but not the whole thing. I’ll take what I can get!

Update: an even better Venus transit calculator and simulator are available at this link, and a cool comic book about the transit is freely available here.

Also at that site is a sweet set of instructions on how to build a “sun funnel” projection screen to show lots of people the sun at once with a single telescope. Here’s a pic borrowed from the site of the sun funnel in action:

I am SO building one of those! Update: David DeLano built one and wrote a nice guest post about his experiences, and I used one for the eclipse.

6 comments

  1. […] transit, and I’ll probably set up a separate page on the sidebar to make them easier to find (hey, look, I did!). For now, though, here are the two […]


  2. […] up just so and Venus will pass across the face of the sun as seen from Earth. That’s the transit of Venus I’ve been so het up about. Stay tuned for more on that, and keep looking up at sunset for the […]


  3. […] The sun funnel parts list and instructions are here, and I previously mentioned it on the blog here. […]


  4. […] of gear, and I don’t intend to voluntarily be without it for future solar events (like the transit of Venus coming up in two […]


  5. […] the Earth, to scale. It’s a fitting cap to this post, because it points the way toward the transit of Venus next week, when those blessed by geography and weather will see an Earth-sized speck moving across […]


  6. […] astronomy news coming up later this fall, and in the meantime, I’m looking forward to the total lunar eclipse this coming Sunday evening, September […]



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