Did solar eclipses help kick-start human curiosity?

Astronomy magazine has published an article I wrote about the pump of curiosity. For fun, we can ask two questions. First, are the kind of solar eclipses we experience on Earth rare within the universe? Second, have solar eclipses had any impact on the development of nature? In a forthcoming paper in Proceedings of theContinue reading “Did solar eclipses help kick-start human curiosity?”

The May-June 2021 eclipse season

EarthSky has re-printed our timeanddate.com article about the forthcoming eclipse season: a total lunar eclipse on May 26, and an annular solar eclipse on June 10. Between the years 1600 and 2599, there are 2108 eclipse seasons. Of these, 126 seasons contain a pair of full eclipses: one total or annular solar eclipse, plus oneContinue reading “The May-June 2021 eclipse season”

Extraterrestrial intelligence and the Fermi paradox

The Milky Way contains 100 billion stars. So where is everybody? (The spacecraft shown in this artist’s impression is one of ours: it’s ESA’s Gaia space observatory.)Image credit: ESA/ATG medialab; background: ESO/S. Brunier One of the highlights of IAUS 367 is Nikos Prantzos, from the Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris, on “the quest for extraterrestrial intelligenceContinue reading “Extraterrestrial intelligence and the Fermi paradox”

Eclipse waiting: a project for the 2020s

Worldwide, the 2020s will bring us 22 solar eclipses: seven total, seven annular and eight partial. (An annular eclipse occurs when the moon is too far away to cover the sun completely — the sun becomes a ‘ring of fire’ surrounding the black disk of the moon.) Image: Jordan Lye The most high-profile spectacles includeContinue reading “Eclipse waiting: a project for the 2020s”

Gracias a San José de Jáchal

Our livestream concluded with an eclipsed sun setting behind the Andes. Thank you to everyone in San José de Jáchal, Argentina, who helped us deliver a fabulous timeanddate.com livestream of last week’s total solar eclipse. The support we received from the Municipalidad de Jáchal was simply incredible; we’re especially grateful to Domingo Martinez and MatíasContinue reading “Gracias a San José de Jáchal”

Wish you were here? 7 chances to experience totality in the 2020s

My latest piece for Physics World is a travel guide to the seven total solar eclipses of the 2020s. Link: https://physicsworld.com/a/wish-you-were-here-seven-chances-to-experience-a-total-solar-eclipse-in-the-2020s/ Luxor, on the banks of the River Nile in Egypt, will enjoy 6 minutes 22 seconds of totality on 2 August 2027. (Image: Mahmoud Algazzar)

The return of the Moondance

In the 22 months since the ‘Great American’ total solar eclipse swept across the USA, we’ve had three total lunar eclipses and four partial solar eclipses. Now, the big Moondance is back… On 2 July a total solar eclipse will take place over the South Pacific Ocean and a narrow strip of Chile and Argentina.Continue reading “The return of the Moondance”

The fascinating rhythm of the sun and the moon

Fascinating rhythm You’ve got me on the go Fascinating rhythm I’m all a-quiver Fascinating Rhythm (George & Ira Gershwin, 1924) The motions of the sun and the moon across the sky will create a fascinating rhythm in 2019, producing five different kinds of eclipses. There will also be a rare-ish transit of Mercury. The firstContinue reading “The fascinating rhythm of the sun and the moon”

Getting ready for three Japanese eclipses in the next 18 months…

“OK, so if the earth is here…” In 2019 Japan will experience two partial solar eclipses. The first comes at the start of the year, on the morning of Sunday 6 January 2019. The second comes at the end of year, on the afternoon of Thursday 26 December 2019. Six months after that, on 21Continue reading “Getting ready for three Japanese eclipses in the next 18 months…”