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World Renown NASA Scientist Coming to Silver City - March 1


Photo: Fred Espenak

The monthly program of the Silver City Astronomical Society will be on March 1, 2013, at 1:00 pm in the auditorium at the Bessie Forward Global Resource Center located on the WNMU Campus.

Title: Predicting and Chasing Solar Eclipses

Speaker: Fred Espenak (Scientist Emeritus, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center)


A total eclipse of the Sun is arguably the most spectacular astronomical phenomenon visible to the naked eye. Among early civilizations, the gradual disappearance of the Sun during an eclipse brought with it abject terror and panic. Today, we know that eclipses are simply the result of the geometric alignment of the Sun, Moon and Earth. Scientists welcome the eerie darkness brought on by this incredible event as a rare opportunity to study the beautiful corona, which surrounds the Sun.

How often do eclipses occur and where can they be seen? What is it like to witness a total eclipse? What can eclipses tell us about the Sun and its mysterious corona? Espenak has spent over four decades chasing eclipses around the world. He will share his experiences with us through photos and video, including some of his most recent expeditions to Libya and China. The next total eclipse though the USA occurs on August 21, 2017. A preview of this exciting event will be presented.

About the Speaker:

Fred Espenak is a retired NASA astrophysicist from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center where he worked with infrared spectrometers to probe the atmospheres of the planets. He is also known as "Mr. Eclipse" because of his work on predicting and observing solar eclipses. He has written over a dozen books on eclipses and he continues to maintain NASA's official eclipse web site (eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov) as well personal web sites on eclipse photography (www.MrEclipse.com) and astrophotography (www.AstroPixels.com). Over the past 43 years Espenak has witnessed 24 total eclipses of the Sun. In 2003, the International Astronomical Union honored Espenak by naming asteroid 14120 after him. Espenak now lives in Portal, Arizona where he operates Bifrost Astronomical Observatory.

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