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Solar Eclipse

Dear Click and Clack and Fans:

Long time listener; first time poster. Thought you should know about a recent astronomical phenomenon I have personally observed. You’ve all heard of the “total” eclipse of the sun, when the moon is relatively close to Earth, and completely, but just barely, blots out the sun, profiling the solar atmosphere. This past weekend we in the Southwest were treated to the more rare “annular” eclipse, which occurs when the moon is relatively farther away, and thus does not cover the entire face of the sun, leaving a visible “ring of fire.”

I recently and fortuitously photographed a third type of eclipse, the rare and elusive “mammular” eclipse, with my iPad2 (handheld, BTW), and my brand new Orion SkyQuest xi10 IntelliScope with 2 inch focuser, two 1.25" eyepieces, a 9x50 right-angle correct-image finder scope, and 12 inch solar filter. A “mammular” eclipse occurs when a gigantic . . ., uh, . . . . . ., well – just look at the attached, unretouched photo.

Like the impending Transit of Venus (June 5), mammular eclipses generally come in pairs. About 50% of the population can’t take their eyes off them, while the other half, with some exceptions, doesn’t see anything to get excited about. As with any solar eclipse, you must be careful looking at mammulars – furtive, sidelong glances are best – staring directly at them can lead to a broad range of negative consequences.

Keep your eyes on the sky, and happy seeing!

Fesser Nohair