In the 2nd part of this short guide on the Peakfinder.org panorama generator, I would like to focus on another kind of observation, that we can enjoy. There are solar & lunar eclipses. Those celestial events are quite rare (especially solar eclipses) so this is the prime reason, that we should prepare as best as possible.
Previously I have explained how to use the Peakfinder.org panorama generator in conjunction with the solar and lunar ephemeris. I have found, that this website can be helpful for planning solar & lunar eclipse observations. Despite no proper signatures (the Sun in Peakfinder always looks the same, Moon changes due to phases) this matter is possible when using appropriate websites for it.
To say, apart from Peakfinder.org you need to open:
– NASA Eclipse home page – where you find detailed solar & lunar circumstances,
– Mooncalc.org – with rough Moon ephemeris for your location.
– Xjubier free.fr – with the most detailed interactive lunar eclipse maps.
I would like to show the solar eclipse issues first, because (at least) for me it is easier to demonstrate it. The aforementioned NASA Eclipse home page provides detailed Google Maps-based circumstances for almost all solar eclipses between 2000 BC and 3000AD. I will focus on a few forthcoming eclipses. It’s good to mention, that this website can be useful for staggering your photos not only for total or annular eclipses but for partial ones too.
When you browse the Nasa eclipse web page you have a few choices of the eclipse databases (Pic. 1).
All databases have been divided into decades, from which you can choose a single solar eclipse. It is advisable to click on the link to Google Maps rather than Global Map (Pic.2) because it will be easier for you to get around.
In this section, you can find the total and annular solar eclipses only. Basically, there is no Google map provided for partial eclipses, however, bear in mind, that either total or annular solar eclipse occurs as a partial one on a wide area.
When you are in, click “Large map” and find the observation site taken into consideration and put a marker there (Pic. 3,4). I will not explain this profoundly now. If you want to know more read my previous articles about the visualization of the total solar eclipse on Google Earth.
When you have got your location ready open the Peakfinder.org website and find the same location there (Pic. 5) using the “Maps” option. Sometimes your location may be used repeatedly and the outcome found in far different places (like Cambridge UK, Cambridge US or York UK, Youk WA, etc.). When you have issues like this put another (bigger) town into the bracket and check which one matches up (Pic.5).
Once you find your location click “Goto” in Peakfinder and enjoy your view! (Pic. 6). Remember, that you have to adjust your local time to the one given by the Nasa webpage (GMT 0). For this place (Argentina) it will be GMT-3).
For this location, the Sun seems to be too high to snap it beyond mountains. You can find then a better place (Pic 7,8), located not far from your initial location.
The next solar eclipse is an annular one. The path starts in eastern Saudi Arabia and proceeds toward the southeast via Qatar, United Arab Emirates, and Oman. There are a lot of places, where you can take pictures of a deep partial eclipse with Al Hajar mountains, which fall tens of kilometers from the path of annularity. The obscuration during the maximum eclipse will reach nearly 90%. I found one place in the eastern United Arab Emirates (border city Al Ain) with an amazing view of this eclipse just after sunrise (Pic. 9,10).
There are already many examples of solar eclipses chased above the beautiful mountainous horizon. See a few below:
In the case of the lunar eclipse, this exercise is not as straightforward as could be, as long as you decide to use the Nasa Eclipse website for it. The Nasa Eclipse Web Site doesn’t supply the lunar eclipse data with Google Maps. Only general patterns in .pdf format are available. Once you open the calendar date of the lunar eclipse link you should have all general information as per below (Pic.17), with the scant eclipse graph on the bottom (Pic. 18). You need to zoom it in as much as possible to figure out the eclipse phase in your location.
The red arrow on the pic. 18 shows my observation site in the extreme northeast part of Poland. Only there end of the partial phase will be visible. I would like to check how my observation site will look during this moment. Having this poor graph only I can’t really find my place on Peakfinder.org. Much helpful will be both Mooncalc.org (Pic. 21,22) and new lunar eclipse interactive maps provided by Xavier Jubier (Pic. 19, 20), which you can use along with Mooncalc.org to figure out where exactly the eclipsed moonrise or moonset is going to happen.
When you have prepared the observation site in the Mooncalc.org server go to Peakfinder.org and find your location there. Once you do this you can check the best place for lunar eclipse observation. On 31st January 2018, the partial eclipse ends at 16:11 GMT+1. It’s going to be really hard to see the last minutes of this partiality from there (Pic. 23,24).
Maybe this example is not easy to demonstrate, so let’s take a look at the next lunar eclipse, which will occur in late July 2018 (Pic. 25, 26). Now I took into account 3 different locations, from where moonrise above mountains is possible on eclipse day (27.07.2018).
The first one refers to the beautiful mountainous corners of Lesser Poland. One of them is the Chyzne, a border village with Slovakia, from where a partially eclipsed Moon will rise above the Tatra Mountains (Pic. 27). It can be seen from Slovakian Orawa also (Trstena, Trvdosin).
The Chamonix region attracts tourists year by year. There are a lot of facilities, picturesque views and also the greatest opportunity to see the highest peak in Europe – Mount Blanc from a very short distance. It can be a perfect spot for lunar eclipse watchers on the 27th of July this year. You just need to go to Sallanches and set your equipment just a little bit north of the village to see the rising eclipsed Moon above Mount Blanc (Pic. 28).
A totally eclipsed Moon will rise in Great Britain. Scottish people will have a great opportunity to see this occurrence right above their highest mountain – Ben Nevis. They only need to flock near Fort William alongside Loch Eil. There a brown Moon should rise around 22:10 at the very end of totality. For those, who want to see the total phase much longer is advisable to reach the Gulvain peak, which rises above the earlier mentioned Loch Eil (Pic. 29).
Despite the lack of appropriate signage (solar & lunar eclipse) on Peakfinder.org, at least for the time being I hope, that it will help you to plan roughly your observation site. There are simply website tools and I am pretty sure, that everyone should combat it. At the finish, I would like to show a few examples, that I found on the web. Unfortunately, I haven’t had an occasion to carry out this kind of observation yet.
1. Total solar eclipse visualization in Google Earth