Get Ready for October’s Two Eclipses
Posted: Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014
Revised October 7, 2014
by Robert C. Victor
There are two eclipses in October 2014. First up is a total lunar eclipse in the predawn hours of Wednesday, October 8. (Set your alarm when you turn in for the night on Tuesday, October 7.) Owing to the unfortunate timing of this lunar eclipse during early predawn hours, the event might not be widely seen by elementary school students. The brief total lunar eclipse on April 4, 2015, centered on 5:00 a.m. PDT, may be somewhat more convenient to observe. The lunar eclipse on the evening of September 27, 2015 will be just about perfect for public viewing in California, with the Moon in partial eclipse as it rises around sunset; in total eclipse during 7:11-8:23 p.m. PDT; and out of the umbra by 9:27 p.m.
Here are the times for the various stages of the October 8, 2014 lunar eclipse for the Pacific Time Zone. Moon’s position in the sky is given for Palm Springs, CA. Report the brightness and color of the Moon at beginning, middle, and end of totality, at 3:25 a.m., 3:55 a.m., and 4:24 a.m. PDT: http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/OH/OHres/Danjon.html.
During totality in Palm Springs, CA, Uranus (mag. 5.7) should be visible in binoculars nearly 1.0° to the left or lower left of the center of the eclipsed Moon. A medium to high power telescope reveals the planet’s disk, 3.7 arcseconds across.
In the two weeks after the Oct. 8 lunar eclipse, leading up to the solar eclipse:
Oct. 10-20: Good dates for daytime Moonwatch as first activity of school day.
Oct. 14-18 are the best dates for viewing lunar surface details through telescope and binoculars. When observing the Moon in the daytime through a telescope, use a single polarizing filter threaded into your low-power eyepiece to enhance contrast of Moon against the sky. While observing the Moon, rotate the eyepiece in its tube until the blue sky surrounding the Moon’s disk appears darkest. This works best when the Moon is within a day or two of Last Quarter or First Quarter phase.
Consider holding a predawn session in October. While we’re still on daylight saving time, starting your session 1-3/4 hours before sunrise wouldn’t be unreasonably early by the clock, and you’d get good looks at Jupiter and a preview of the stars of late winter.
Oct. 17 and 18, dawn: Look for Jupiter near the waning crescent Moon.
October’s second eclipse is a partial solar event in the afternoon on Thursday, October 23.
The times of the stages of a solar eclipse depends on your location. In California, this eclipse gets underway with first contact of the Moon’s disk at the edge of the Sun’s disk occurring just after 1:40 p.m. PDT in the northwest corner of the state, to 2:19 p.m. in the southeast corner. Deepest eclipse occurs at 3:06 p.m. in the northwest corner of California, to 3:36 p.m. in the southeast. Last contact, marking the end of the eclipse, occurs at 4:25 p.m. in the northwest corner of California, to 4:44 p.m. in the southeast.
Seen from Palm Springs, the solar eclipse begins at 2:12 p.m. PDT, as the Moon’s disk makes first contact with the upper right edge of the Sun’s disk. Greatest eclipse for Palm Springs occurs at 3:31 p.m. PDT, as the Moon’s disk covers the upper right portion of the Sun’s disk, the Moon covering 45 percent of the solar diameter, or 33 percent of the disk area. From Palm Springs, the eclipse ends at 4:41 p.m. PDT, as the Moon’s disk makes last contact with the upper left edge of the solar disk.
During the eclipse in Palm Springs, the Sun will be sinking through the southwestern sky, at an altitude ranging from 38° at the start of the event, to 15° at the end.
Follow these web links to obtain information on visibility of solar and lunar eclipses for any locality:
How to observe the solar eclipse (October 23)
Indirect viewing: A solar eclipse can be viewed indirectly, by looking at a projected image. Take a postcard or 3” x 5” index card, puncture a small pencil point hole in the center of the card, and allow the projected image of the Sun to fall on a second white card held 3 or 4 feet away, in the shadow of the first card. The diameter of the solar image will be just under one percent of the projection distance, and the size of the punctured hole should be small compared to that. You can improve the view by using a long cardboard box, cutting a large hole at one end, and covering that hole with the first index card with the small puncture hole. Tape a sheet of white paper inside the box at the opposite end, to serve as a screen.
You can also stand in the shade of a tree, and look for projected images of the eclipsed Sun, on the ground or on a white sheet you have spread on the ground, or on the side of a light-colored building. Try out this method at the same time of day as the eclipse will occur, on any day before the event, and notice the round projected images of the full disk of the Sun.
Direct viewing: Groups organizing a solar eclipse watch can also order a quantity of solar eclipse viewers for participants. Hand-held, safe eclipse viewers and eclipse glasses to be worn like regular eyeglasses are available from Rainbow Symphony. Both styles are identically priced and employ the same filter materials. The minimum quantity for those items is 25 count, at 85 cents each. There is a discount for quantity orders. For more information, and to order, go to www.rainbowsymphonystore.com and click on eclipse shades.
The viewers can be recycled for future eclipses! (They can also be used to check for sunspots; very large ones would be visible through the filter.)
In Palm Springs, the eclipse on Thursday, Oct. 23, begins at 2:12 p.m. PDT, as the moon’s disk makes first contact with the upper right edge of the sun’s disk. Greatest eclipse for Palm Springs occurs at 3:31 p.m., as the moon’s disk covers the upper right portion of the sun’s disk—45 percent of the solar diameter, or 33 percent of the disk area. The eclipse ends at 4:41 p.m., as the moon’s disk makes last contact with the upper left edge of the solar disk.
During the eclipse in Palm Springs, the sun will be sinking through the southwestern sky, at an altitude ranging from 38 degrees at the start of the event, to 15 degrees at the end.
In the days following the Oct. 23 solar eclipse:
Oct. 25, Two days after the solar eclipse, at dusk: Can you spot Saturn 4°-5° lower right of the thin young crescent Moon?
Oct. 26 at dusk: Look for Antares 8° lower left of Moon.
Oct. 27 and 28, at dusk: Find Mars near Moon.
On Nov. 3 and 11-12, at nightfall: Watch Mars pass close to stars in the Teapot of Sagittarius.
Use the following web links to obtain information on visibility of past, present, and future eclipses for any locality. Choose your city or enter your longitude and latitude. For times expressed in Pacific Daylight Time, choose Time Zone 7h 00m W. Next, for eclipses in the current century, choose Century 2001-2100, and subtract one hour from times for eclipses occurring on dates Pacific Standard Time is in effect.
Solar eclipses: http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/JSEX/JSEX-index.html
Lunar eclipses: http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/JLEX/JLEX-index.html
Posted: Tuesday, March 14th, 2017
The pre-publication version of the new California Science Curriculum Framework is now available for download. This publication incorporates all the edits that were approved by the State Board of Education in November 2016 and was many months in the making. Our sincere thanks to the dozens of CSTA members were involved in its development. Our appreciation is also extended to the California Department of Education, the State Board of Education, the Instructional Quality Commission, and the Science Curriculum Framework and Evaluation Criteria Committee and their staff for their hard work and dedication to produce this document and for their commitment to the public input process. To the many writers and contributors to the Framework CSTA thanks you for your many hours of work to produce a world-class document.
For tips on how to approach this document see our article from December 2016: California Has Adopted a New Science Curriculum Framework – Now What …? If you would like to learn more about the Framework, consider participating in one of the Framework Launch events (a.k.a. Rollout #4) scheduled throughout 2017.
The final publication version (formatted for printing) will be available in July 2017. This document will not be available in printed format, only electronically.
Posted: Monday, March 13th, 2017
The 2017 Award Season is now open! One of the benefits of being a CSTA member is your eligibility for awards as well as your eligibility to nominate someone for an award. CSTA offers several awards and members may nominate individuals and organizations for the Future Science Teacher Award, the prestigious Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award, and the CSTA Distinguished Contributions Award (organizational award). May 9, 2017 is the deadline for nominations for these awards. CSTA believes that the importance of science education cannot be overstated. Given the essential presence of the sciences in understanding the past and planning for the future, science education remains, and will increasingly be one of the most important disciplines in education. CSTA is committed to recognizing and encouraging excellence in science teaching through the presentation of awards to science educators and organizations who have made outstanding contributions in science education in the state and who are poised to continue the momentum of providing high quality, relevant science education into the future. Learn More…
Posted: Monday, March 13th, 2017
CSTA is now accepting applications from regular, preservice, and retired members to serve on our volunteer committees! CSTA’s all-volunteer board of directors invites you to consider maximizing your member experience by volunteering for CSTA. CSTA committee service offers you the opportunity to share your expertise, learn a new skill, or do something you love to do but never have the opportunity to do in your regular day. CSTA committee volunteers do some pretty amazing things: Learn More…
Posted: Monday, March 13th, 2017
by Marian Murphy-Shaw
If you attended an NGSS Rollout phase 1-3 or CDE workshops at CSTA’s annual conference you may recall hearing from Chris Breazeale when he was working with the CDE. Chris has relocated professionally, with his passion for science education, and is now the Executive Director at the Explorit Science Center, a hands-on exploration museum featuring interactive STEM exhibits located at the beautiful Mace Ranch, 3141 5th St. in Davis, CA. Visitors can “think it, try it, and explorit” with a variety of displays that allow visitors to “do science.” To preview the museum, or schedule a classroom visit, see www.explorit.org. Learn More…
Posted: Monday, March 13th, 2017
by Joseph Calmer
Probably like you, NGSS has been at the forefront of many department meetings, lunch conversations, and solitary lesson planning sessions. Despite reading the original NRC Framework, the Ca Draft Frameworks, and many CSTA writings, I am still left with the question: “what does it actually mean for my classroom?”
I had an eye-opening experience that helped me with that question. It came out of a conversation that I had with a student teacher. It turns out that I’ve found the secret to learning how to teach with NGSS: I need to engage in dialogue about teaching with novice teachers. I’ve had the pleasure of teaching science in some capacity for 12 years. During that time pedagogy and student learning become sort of a “hidden curriculum.” It is difficult to plan a lesson for the hidden curriculum; the best way is to just have two or more professionals talk and see what emerges. I was surprised it took me so long to realize this epiphany. Learn More…