The shrinking Moon, our ever more distant and smaller satellite

Tuesday, 24 August, 2010

While the Moon’s distance from Earth is ever so slowly increasing, something that will one day bring about the end of total solar eclipses, the discovery that our satellite is also shrinking – slowly though gradually – looks to hasten that eventuality.

The intriguing features, called lobate scarps, are faults created when the Moon’s once-molten interior began to cool, causing the lunar surface to contract and then crinkle, astronomers said in the US journal Science.

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Ancient technology, a 2000 year old computer

Monday, 11 January, 2010

Amazing, a mechanism over two thousand years old, that could predict eclipses and Moon phases.

Using nothing but an ingenious system of gears, the mechanism could be used to predict the month, day and hour of an eclipse, and even accounted for leap years. It could also predict the positions of the sun and moon against the zodiac, and has a gear train that turns a black and white stone to show the moon’s phase on a given date. It is possible that it could also show the astronomical positions of the planets known to the ancients: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.

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Solar eclipses as viewed from Earth orbit

Wednesday, 29 July, 2009

Spectacular: photos of regions of the Earth taken during solar eclipses from orbiting satellites and space stations.

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Invest on the day of a blue moon but not a total solar eclipse

Friday, 24 July, 2009

Apparently many share investors are very superstitious, and tend to refrain from buying shares, and making other investment decisions, on days when there is an eclipse.

Using four broad indices of the U.S. stock market, we uncover strong evidence in support of our superstition hypothesis in four distinct ways. First, the occurrence of negative superstitious events (i.e. eclipses) is associated with below-average stock returns, which is consistent with a diminished buying pressure coming from the superstitious.

So… as I see it, buying shares or stocks on the day of an eclipse might be a good idea as you could be buying at a lower price, which you can later sell at profit once the superstitious investors have returned to the market and buoyed it back up again.

Via Marginal Revolution.

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Solar eclipse chaser goes after the longest eclipse of the century

Tuesday, 21 July, 2009

The longest solar eclipse so far of the century takes place tomorrow, Wednesday, though it won’t be visible from much of Australia.

On hand however in China to witness the six-minute spectacle will be veteran “eclipse chaser” Dr Jay Pasachoff, who is hoping, weather permitting, to experience his 29th solar eclipse.

On hand to view it from a mountaintop outside Hangzhou, China, and make measurements of the Sun’s pearly superheated corona, visible only when the much brighter disk of the Sun is covered, is Williams College astronomer and veteran eclipse chaser, Jay Pasachoff, and a band of colleagues. This will be Dr. Pasachoff’s 29th total solar eclipse, and his first as a guest blogger for the Times.

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And the Sun is no longer eclipsed by the Moon

Wednesday, 4 February, 2009

Despite differences in their size and distance from us, both the Sun and the Moon appear to be the same size when seen from Earth, something that is particularly apparent during a total Solar eclipse.

This quirk of nature however is only a relatively temporary state of affairs.

With the Moon moving away from Earth at the rate of 3.8 centimetres each year, total eclipses of the Sun will one day be something our descendants in the distant future only hear of during history classes.

The dinosaurs did not see eclipses like we do: the moon was too close 200 million years ago, more than big enough in the sky to block out the entire sun. Equally, any occupants of Earth in a couple of hundred million years’ time will not see total eclipses at all, as the moon will appear too small.

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