Date: July 10, 2010

SolarEclipseTitle: Total Solar Eclipse in Easter Island


Podcaster: Jay Pasachoff

Organization: Williams College –
Working Group on Eclipses of the International Astronomical Union –

Description: In 2010, there are two central eclipses of the sun: an annular eclipse on January 15 and a total eclipse on July 11. This podcast discusses the total eclipse, which will be visible over the Pacific Ocean, including some atolls in the Cook Islands and in French Polynesia and then where we will observe, in Easter Island. Easter Island, part of Chile, is 2500 miles west of the Chilean coast and is famous for the giant statues, moai, left by the defunct Polynesian civilization that once inhabited the island. The eclipse itself will last 4 minutes 45 seconds as seen from Easter Island. We are still near the minimum of the sunspot cycle, so a sparse corona is expected, extended at the sun’s equator and showing only as polar plumes near the poles. This eclipse will be seen by relatively few people, since totality is limited to a few Pacific Islands plus Patagonia, though only when the sun is extremely low in the sky near sunset at a time of year with unfavorable forecasts. Several airplanes will fly into the path of totality and several ships will maneuver into the path, in addition to the few thousand people in totality on land.

Bio: Jay Pasachoff, Chair of the International Astronomical Union’s Working Group on Eclipses, is Field Memorial Professor of Astronomy at Williams College and a Visitor at Caltech. He has viewed 64 solar eclipses, and is an expert on both their use for scientific observations and their use for public education. Pasachoff is a former president of the International Astronomical Union’s Commission on Education and Development and Chair of the Historical Astronomy Division of the American Astronomical Society. He received the Education Prize of the American Astronomical Society, the Janssen Prize of the Société Astronomique de France, and this year’s Richtmyer Memorial Lecture Award from the American Association of Physics Teachers. Pasachoff is the author or co-author of The Cosmos: Astronomy in the New Millennium, the Peterson Field Guide to the Stars and Planets, and Nearest Star: The Surprising Science of Our Sun plus, on a more technical level, The Solar Corona, as well as a new, 2017 book, The Sun, for the Science Museum, London.

Today’s sponsor: “Between the Hayabusa homecoming from Itokawa and the Rosetta flyby of asteroid Lutetia, 13 June until 10 July 2010, this episode of ‘365 Days of Astronomy’ is sponsored anonymously and dedicated to the memory of Annie Cameron, designer of the Tryphena Sun Wheel, Great Barrier Island, New Zealand, a project that remains to be started.”


***Transcript coming soon.***

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365 Days of Astronomy
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