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Author Archives: Samuel Singer

100 Days Until Totality Blog Series: 71 Days Left – Mohammed’s Proclamation

By M. Tomczak – Statue of al-Khwarizmi in front of the Faculty of Mathematics of Amirkabir University of Technology in Tehran, Iran. Wikimedia Commons

Much of the astronomical knowledge of ancient Greece would have been lost following the early medieval period had it not been for the great Islamic astronomers whom at the same time were in the midst of their Golden Age (9th–13th centuries) of knowledge, science, and learning. In 830, the “House of Wisdom” was founded in modern day Baghdad as a central location to translate texts from Greek into Arabic.
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100 Days Until Totality Blog Series: 72 Days Left – Crucifixion Eclipse?

The earliest crucifixion picture in an illuminated manuscript, from the Syriac Rabbula Gospels, 586 CE

In the Christian gospels there are allusions to solar eclipses around the time of Jesus’ crucifixion. The so-called Report of Pilate states: “Jesus was delivered to him by Herod, Archelaus, Philip, Annas, Caiphas, and all the people. At his crucifixion the Sun was darkened; the stars appeared and in all the world people lighted lamps from the sixth hour till evening…” There are accounts describing this as a miracle or as a sign of dark times to come.
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100 Days Until Totality Blog Series: 73 Days Left – From the Earth to the Moon

Picture by Michael Perryman https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hipparcos-testing-estec.jpg

You may have heard of the Hipparcos satelite. Launched in 1989 by the European Space Agency, Hipparcos was the first space instrument dedicated to measuring the accurate and precise positions of celestial objects, in particular stars. Knowing the positions of stars allows for the determination of their motions and ultimately their distances from Earth. “Hipparcos” is an acronym for HIgh Precision PARallax Collecting Satellite and also a reference to the ancient Greek astronomer Hipparchus of Nicaea.
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100 Days Until Totality Blog! 95 Days Left – What is the Sun?

Our sun is a star just like all of the points of light in our night sky. The reason the Sun is so bright and appears so much bigger than the other stars is simply because it is so close to the Earth. The Sun is actually pretty average. There are many stars that are much larger and much hotter. If you took the star Betelgeuse (in the constellation of Orion) and placed it where the Sun is, the Earth would actually be inside of it!
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100 Days Until Totality Blog! 96 Days Left – What Will You See During Totality?

Credit: Takeshi Kuboki https://www.flickr.com/people/40802894@N02?rb=1

Credit: University of Rochester Physics and Astronomy Dept. http://www.pas.rochester.edu

Seeing the Moon pass in front of the Sun is not all there is to a solar eclipse! When the eclipse begins, the disc of the Moon will start to pass in front of the Sun and it will start to get darker. Eventually it will be almost as dark as night with stars visible in the sky in the middle of the day.
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100 Days Until Totality Blog! 98 Days Left – Why is the solar eclipse in August such a big deal?

Credit: Great American Eclipse https://www.greatamericaneclipse.com

This eclipse is the first solar eclipse in the continental U.S. in 38 years. The last one occurred on February 26, 1979. It only barely passed through five states in the Northwest, and the weather was mostly cloudy. This year, everyone in the continental U.S. will see a partial eclipse. The path of totality passes through 10 states: Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina. On the map to the right you can see how the eclipse will be seen from the rest of the country.
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