Cover image for Total eclipses : science, observations, myths, and legends
Total eclipses : science, observations, myths, and legends
Guillermier, Pierre, 1960-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
London ; New York : Springer ; Chichester, UK : Published in association with Praxis Pub., [1999]

Physical Description:
xxviii, 247 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color), maps ; 24 cm.
Subject Term:
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
QB541 .G85 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Lively and easy to understand, Total Eclipses presents the myths and legends associated with solar and lunar eclipses through the ages, the mechanisms governing these events, their beauty, and the wealth of information gleaned from them by astronomers and astrophysicists.
"Gives a wide variety of information on observing eclipses for the novice as well as on the value of eclipses to professionals...any reader can find information at an interesting and appropriate level and can be sure that he is being guided knowledgeably." -NATURE

Table of Contents

Forewordp. xi
Prefacep. xiii
Acknowledgementsp. xv
Introductionp. xvii
List of illustrations and tablesp. xix
List of colour platesp. xxv
1 The Sun: Our Local Starp. 1
The Sun as a starp. 1
Solar radiationp. 2
The internal structure of the Sunp. 3
The Sun's chemical compositionp. 6
The photospherep. 7
The chromospherep. 9
The coronap. 10
Solar activityp. 14
Solar cyclesp. 19
Sun-Earth interactionsp. 20
Day and nightp. 20
The tidesp. 21
Climatep. 21
Space weatherp. 22
The Sun and space missionsp. 25
Skylabp. 25
Solar Max Missionp. 27
Ulyssesp. 28
Yohkohp. 29
SOHOp. 30
Clusterp. 31
TRACEp. 32
The future and death of the Sunp. 32
2 How to Observe the Sunp. 35
Observing the photosphere in white lightp. 35
Precautions for solar observingp. 35
The projection methodp. 37
The Herschel wedgep. 37
Full-aperture filtersp. 37
The Wolf Number (relative sunspot number)p. 38
Parameters of photospheric activityp. 40
Total spot surface calculationp. 40
Proper motion of spotsp. 40
Observing prominencesp. 41
The Lyot coronagraphp. 42
The H[alpha] filterp. 44
'Pro-am' collaboration in solar observationp. 45
Other solar phenomenap. 45
The zodiacal lightp. 45
The gegenscheinp. 46
The rainbowp. 46
The green flashp. 47
Parhelia (sundogs)p. 47
Solar halosp. 47
Polar auroraep. 47
Equipment for observingp. 48
Tripods, altazimuth mounts and equatorial mountsp. 48
The refractorp. 48
The reflectorp. 49
The spectroheliographp. 49
The coelostat and the heliostatp. 50
The observing sitep. 52
Solar photographyp. 53
Solar spectroscopyp. 54
3 Eclipses of the Sun and Moonp. 57
Eclipses and celestial mechanicsp. 57
The motions of the Sunp. 57
The motions of the Earthp. 58
The motions of the Moonp. 58
Celestial motions and eclipsesp. 60
Celestial mechanics and eclipsesp. 61
Eclipses of the Sunp. 64
The significance of solar eclipsesp. 64
Examples of solar eclipses: total, annular, partialp. 66
Eclipses of the Moonp. 70
In the shadow of the Earthp. 71
The significance of lunar eclipsesp. 72
Observing a lunar eclipsep. 74
Eclipse calculation programp. 77
4 Historical Eclipses and Discoveriesp. 81
Myths and legendsp. 81
Eclipses of the Moon in historyp. 84
The fall of Constantinoplep. 85
Columbus's lunar eclipsep. 86
Eclipses of the Sun in historyp. 87
Eclipses in literaturep. 88
The eclipse of Christ's Crucifixionp. 88
Prince Igor's eclipsep. 90
Tintin's eclipsep. 91
Nat Turner's eclipsep. 93
Eclipses and early discoveriesp. 95
Twentieth-century eclipsesp. 100
Eclipses in flightp. 126
Why aircraft?p. 126
Early post-war eclipse flightsp. 128
The aircraft comes into its ownp. 129
The epic flight of Concorde 001p. 132
Other observing platformsp. 136
Filming eclipsesp. 139
5 Observing Total Eclipses of the Sunp. 141
Preparation and travelp. 141
Accessibility of the observing sitep. 141
Duration of the eventp. 142
Weather prospectsp. 143
Equipmentp. 144
The eclipse scenariop. 146
An observing programme for the amateurp. 148
First contactp. 149
The Moon meets the Sunp. 149
The Moon moves across the Sunp. 149
Falling light levelsp. 150
Fall in temperaturep. 150
Shadow bandsp. 151
Baily's Beadsp. 151
Second contact: totalityp. 151
The shadow arrivesp. 151
Darknessp. 152
Prominencesp. 152
The chromospherep. 153
Stars and planets appearp. 153
The solar coronap. 154
Possible cometsp. 155
Abnormal animal behaviourp. 155
Third contactp. 156
The shadow departsp. 156
Reappearance of a fraction of the solar diskp. 156
Fourth contactp. 156
Disappearance of the Moon's diskp. 156
Amateur observations from an aircraftp. 157
6 Photographing Eclipses of the Sun and Moonp. 159
Photographing solar eclipsesp. 159
Preparing for the eclipsep. 159
Equipmentp. 160
A photographic programmep. 161
First contactp. 162
Second contact: totalityp. 163
Third contactp. 171
Fourth contactp. 171
Photographing lunar eclipsesp. 172
Equipmentp. 173
A photographic programmep. 175
Exposure timesp. 176
Drawing lunar eclipsesp. 177
Filming lunar eclipsesp. 178
Appendix A Energy and neutrinosp. 179
The origin of solar energyp. 179
Chemical energyp. 179
Gravitational energyp. 180
Nuclear energyp. 180
The neutrino problemp. 183
Appendix B Eclipses and coronal physicsp. 185
An outline of the physical study of the Sun's coronap. 186
Morphological analysis of coronal structuresp. 189
Theoryp. 189
Practical aspectsp. 190
Discussionp. 192
Quantitative photometric analysis of densitiesp. 195
General case and homogeneous casep. 195
The case of large structuresp. 199
Analysis of fine structuresp. 200
Introductionp. 200
Sheets and discontinuitiesp. 201
Surges, fibrils and plasmoidsp. 203
Temperatures in the coronap. 205
Conclusionsp. 208
Referencesp. 209
Appendix C Computer program for solar and lunar eclipse datesp. 213
Appendix D The eclipse of 11 August 1999p. 217
The track of the Moon's shadow on 11 August 1999p. 217
General characteristicsp. 219
Countries through which the track passesp. 221
Appendix E Eclipses of the Sun and Moon until 2010p. 227
Total, annular and partial eclipses of the Sunp. 227
Eclipses of the Moonp. 228
Addresses and bibliographyp. 231
Magazines and journalsp. 231
Travel agencies offering eclipse tripsp. 232
Some Internet addressesp. 233
NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration)p. 233
Programs for simulation and image processingp. 234
Planetaria in the British Islesp. 235
Bibliographyp. 237
Indexp. 241