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Updated Safety Advice for Viewing the August 21st Solar Eclipse

In response to alarming reports of potentially unsafe eclipse viewers flooding the market as the coast-to-coast solar eclipse of August 21st draws near, the American Astronomical Society (AAS) has revised some of its safety advice to the public.

safety-adviceHow can you tell if your “eclipse glasses” or handheld solar viewers are safe? It is no longer sufficient to look for the logo of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and a label indicating that the product meets the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard for filters for direct viewing of the Sun’s bright face. Why not? Because it now appears that some companies are printing the ISO logo and certification label on fake eclipse glasses and handheld solar viewers made with materials that do not block enough of the Sun’s ultraviolet, visible, and infrared radiation to make them truly safe. Some sellers are even displaying fake test results on their websites to support their bogus claim of compliance with the ISO safety standard.

Given this unfortunate situation, the only way you can be sure your solar viewer is safe is to verify that it comes from a reputable manufacturer or one of their authorized dealers. The AAS Solar Eclipse Task Force has been working diligently to compile a list of such vendors, now posted on its Reputable Vendors of Solar Filters & Viewers page. Task-force members have checked manufacturers’ ISO paperwork to make sure it is complete and that it comes from an accredited testing facility, and they’ve asked manufacturers to identify their authorized resellers and dealers to identify the source of the products they’re selling. Only when everything checks out does the AAS add a vendor to its listing.

“If we don’t list a supplier, that doesn’t mean their products are unsafe,” says AAS Press Officer and task-force representative Rick Fienberg. “It just means that we have no knowledge of them or that we haven’t convinced ourselves they’re safe.”

How can you tell if your solar viewer is NOT safe? The only thing you can see through a safe solar filter from a reputable vendor is the Sun itself. If you can see ordinary household lights through your eclipse glasses or handheld viewer, it’s no good. Safe solar filters produce a view of the Sun that is comfortably bright (like the full Moon), in focus, and surrounded by black sky. If you glance at the Sun through your solar filter and find it uncomfortably bright, out of focus, and surrounded by a murky haze, it’s no good. You should contact the seller and demand a refund or credit for return of the product, then obtain a replacement from one of the sources listed on the AAS’s reputable-vendors page.

What if you received eclipse glasses or a handheld solar viewer from a relative, friend, neighbor, or acquaintance? If that person is an amateur or professional astronomer — and astronomers have been handing out eclipse viewers like Halloween candy lately — they’re almost certainly ISO-compliant, because astronomers get their solar filters from sources they know and trust (in other words, from the ones listed on the AAS’s reputable-vendors page). Ditto for professional astronomical organizations, including college and university physics and astronomy departments, and amateur-astronomy clubs.

If you bought or were given eclipse viewers at a science museum or planetarium, or at an astronomy trade show, again you’re almost certainly in possession of ISO-compliant filters. As long as you can trace your filters to a reputable vendor or other reliable source, and as long as they have the ISO logo and a statement attesting to their ISO 12312-2 compliance, you should have nothing to worry about. What you absolutely should NOT do is search for eclipse glasses on the internet and buy whatever pops up in the ads or search results. Check the AAS list of reputable vendors and buy from one of them.

The AAS continues to emphasize that it is perfectly safe to look directly at the Sun during the brief total phase of the solar eclipse (“totality”), when the Moon entirely blocks the Sun’s bright face. On August 21stthis will occur only within a roughly 70-mile-wide path spanning the country from Oregon to South Carolina, and only for up to 2 minutes 40 seconds. Before and after totality, or throughout the entire eclipse if you’re outside the path (in which case you’ll see only a partial eclipse, which is nowhere near as exciting or magnificent as a total one), the only safe way to look directly at the Sun is through special-purpose solar filters. These are commonly sold as paper- or plastic-framed eclipse glasses or cardboard solar viewers that you hold in your hand. Ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, are not safe for looking directly at the Sun; they transmit many thousands of times too much sunlight.

Here are the AAS’s instructions for the safe use of eclipse glasses and handheld solar viewers (https://eclipse.aas.org/eye-safety):

* Always inspect your solar filter before use; if scratched, punctured, torn, or otherwise damaged, discard it. Read and follow any instructions printed on or packaged with the filter.

* Always supervise children using solar filters.

* If you normally wear eyeglasses, keep them on. Put your eclipse glasses on over them, or hold your handheld viewer in front of them.

* Stand still and cover your eyes with your eclipse glasses or solar viewer before looking up at the bright Sun. After looking at the Sun, turn away and remove your filter — do not remove it while looking at the Sun.

* Do not look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed Sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars, or other optical device.

* Similarly, do not look at the Sun through a camera, a telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device while using your eclipse glasses or handheld solar viewer — the concentrated solar rays could damage the filter and enter your eye(s), causing serious injury.

* Seek expert advice from an astronomer before using a solar filter with a camera, telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device; note that solar filters must be attached to the front of any telescope, binoculars, camera lens, or other optics.

* If you are inside the path of totality, remove your solar filter only when the Moon completely covers the Sun’s bright face and it suddenly gets quite dark. Experience totality, then, as soon as the bright Sun begins to reappear, replace your solar viewer to look at the remaining partial phases.

* Outside the path of totality, you must always use a safe solar filter to view the Sun directly.

Some eclipse glasses and solar viewers are printed with warnings stating that you shouldn’t look through them for more than 3 minutes at a time and that you should discard them if they are more than 3 years old. Such warnings are outdated and do not apply to eclipse viewers compliant with the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard, which was adopted in 2015. If your eclipse glasses or viewers are relatively new and are ISO 12312-2 compliant, you may look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed Sun through them for as long as you wish. Furthermore, if the filters aren’t scratched, punctured, or torn, you may reuse them indefinitely.

What about welding filters? The only ones that are safe for direct viewing of the Sun with your eyes are those of Shade 12, 13, or 14. These are much darker than the filters used for most kinds of welding. If you have an old welder’s helmet around the house and are thinking of using it to view the Sun, make sure you know the filter’s shade number. If it’s less than 12 (and it probably is), don’t even think about using it to look at the Sun. Many people find the Sun too bright even in a Shade 12 filter, and some find the Sun too dim in a Shade 14 filter — but Shade 13 filters are uncommon and can be hard to find. The AAS’s Reputable Vendors of Solar Filters & Viewers page doesn’t list any suppliers of welder’s filters, only suppliers of special-purpose filters made for viewing the Sun.

An alternative method for safe viewing of the partially eclipsed Sun is indirectly via pinhole projection. For example, cross the outstretched, slightly open fingers of one hand over the outstretched, slightly open fingers of the other, creating a waffle pattern. With your back to the Sun, look at your hands’ shadow on the ground. The little spaces between your fingers will project a grid of small images on the ground, showing the Sun as a crescent during the partial phases of the eclipse. Or just look at the shadow of a leafy tree during the partial eclipse; you’ll see the ground dappled with crescent Suns projected by the tiny spaces between the leaves.

Press Release by the American Astronomical Society (AAS)

SWRI Team to Use Airborne Telescopes to Study Sun and Mercury During Total Solar Eclipse

EclipseA team led by the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) will use airborne telescopes aboard NASA research aircraft to study the solar corona and Mercury’s surface during this summer’s total solar eclipse. The August 21 observations will provide the clearest images to date of the Sun’s outer atmosphere and attempt the first-ever “thermal images” of surface temperature variations on Mercury.

Total solar eclipses are unique opportunities for scientists to study the hot atmosphere above the Sun’s visible surface. The faint light from the corona is usually overpowered by intense emissions from the Sun itself. During a total eclipse, however, the Moon blocks the glare from the bright solar disk and darkens the sky, allowing the weaker coronal emissions to be observed.

“By looking for high-speed motion in the solar corona, we hope to understand what makes it so hot. It’s millions of degrees Celsius, hundreds of times hotter than the visible surface below,” said Dr. Amir Caspi, principal investigator of the project and a senior research scientist in SwRI’s Boulder, Colorado, office. “In addition, the corona is one of the major sources of electromagnetic storms here at Earth. These phenomena damage satellites, cause power grid blackouts, and disrupt communication and GPS signals, so it’s important to better understand them.”

Why is the Sun’s outer atmosphere so much hotter than its surface? Perhaps the Sun’s magnetic field carries energy into the corona and converts it into heat. Or perhaps nanoflares or nanojets — explosions or eruptions too small and numerous to see individually — are constantly releasing small amounts of energy that combine to heat the entire corona. The team will use high-speed, high-definition video of the corona to look for fast, coherent motions that could help solve this puzzle. The project may also shed light on another question: why the magnetic structures in the corona are relatively smooth and stable.

“The magnetic field forms well organized loops and arcades in the lower corona, as well as large, fan-shaped structures extending out to many solar radii,” said Dr. Craig DeForest, a co-investigator also from SwRI’s Boulder office. “These structures are constantly being churned and tangled by the motion of the solar surface itself. So why does the corona always appear well organized, like a recently-coiffed head of hair, and not snarled or matted?”

From two of NASA’s WB-57 research aircraft, the team will observe the corona during the eclipse using stabilized telescopes with sensitive, high-speed, visible-light and infrared cameras at 50,000 feet. This high altitude provides distinct advantages over ground-based observations.

“Being above the weather guarantees perfect observing conditions, while being above more than 90 percent of Earth’s atmosphere gives us much better image quality than on the ground,” said another SwRI co-investigator, Dr. Constantine Tsang. “This mobile platform also allows us to chase the eclipse shadow, giving us over 7 minutes of totality between the two planes, compared to just 2 minutes and 40 seconds for a stationary observer on the ground.”

These are the first astronomical observations for the WB-57s. Southern Research, which is located in Birmingham, Alabama, built the Airborne Imaging and Recording Systems onboard and is working with the scientific team to upgrade its DyNAMITE telescopes on both planes with solar filters and improved data recorders.

“This airborne platform also provides us with higher-quality, higher-speed images than are achievable from current or previous space-borne instruments,” said Caspi. “It highlights the potential of the WB-57 platform for future astronomical observations.”

Eclipse observations also give the team a unique opportunity to study Mercury, the planet closest to the Sun. Mercury is difficult to observe because it is usually washed out by the bright daytime sky, or distorted by the atmosphere near the horizon at twilight.

“We plan to measure Mercury in the infrared, in near darkness, and through very little atmosphere,” Tsang said. Scientists hope to use infrared measurements to calculate surface temperatures over the planet’s entire night side. “How the temperature changes across the surface gives us information about the thermophysical properties of Mercury’s soil, down to depths of about a few centimeters, something that has never been measured before.”

The SwRI-led team includes scientists from the University of Colorado, the National Center for Atmospheric Research High Altitude Observatory, and the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, as well as international colleagues at Trinity College Dublin in Ireland and the Royal Observatory of Belgium. The team will make its data available to the public after the event. The team’s work will also be featured in two documentaries to air on eclipse day and in the fall of 2017.

Press Release from Southwest Research Institute

Media Invitation: Lowell Observatory Solar Eclipse Experience in Madras, Oregon

What: Lowell Observatory invites members of the media to attend the Lowell Observatory Solar Eclipse Experience (LOSEE), a two-day event celebrating the August 21 total solar eclipse.

When: LOSEE will take place on August 20 and 21, 2017.

Where: The Lowell Observatory Eclipse Expedition will take place at the Madras High School football field and adjoining Performing Arts Center in Madras, Oregon.

Event Description: This will be the first total solar eclipse to stretch across the United States, from the Pacific to Atlantic oceans, since 1918. To celebrate, Lowell Observatory astronomers and educators are hosting this two-day, education-focused event that includes presentations by astronomers and a star party on the evening of August 21, and eclipse viewing, science demonstrations, and astronomer presentations on August 21. Plus, the Science Channel will be broadcasting live from our event to its worldwide network of tens of millions of followers on television, social media, and its website.

Complimentary Press Registration: Lowell Observatory offers complimentary press registration to working journalists, broadcasters, PIOs, and other media professionals. While press registration is available at the event, we recommend pre-registering. This will not only allow us to better plan, but also gives you the opportunity to receive relevant information that we will periodically share up until eclipse day.

To register contact Molly Baker via email at mbaker@lowell.edu

By Kevin Schindler, Lowell Observatory Historian

Astronomer Profile: Dr. Dave Schleicher

Note: Seven Lowell Observatory astronomers will participate in the 2017 Lowell Observatory Solar Eclipse Experience in Madras, Oregon on August 20-21. We will profile each in separate blogs. Today, we introduce Dr. Dave Schleicher.

Schleicher_Dave
Education

Dave Schleicher earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland in 1983.

Research Interests

Dr. Schleicher’s major research interests include the physical properties, chemical composition, and behavior of comets. He began using Lowell telescopes in 1979 while a graduate student at Arizona State University and joined the Lowell staff in 1985.

Dr. Schleicher uses a variety of observational tools and theoretical modeling in his studies. In 1986, he co-discovered the periodic variability of Comet Halley—a discovery that profoundly affected the interpretation of other measurements of Halley, including those from the Giotto and Vega spacecraft. He has since obtained support observations for all other comets visited by the spacecraft.

Fun Fact

Dr. Schleicher’s interest in astronomy began before second grade while looking through a neighbor’s small telescope. This soon became his hobby but when he chose astronomy as a career, he realized he needed another hobby and took up photography. Today he is an accomplished photographer and has taken pictures around the world while traveling for telescope observing sessions or professional astronomy meetings.

Lowell Observatory Solar Eclipse Experience Activities

Dr. Schleicher will be on hand to talk about astronomy and answer questions about the cosmos.

By Kevin Schindler, Lowell Observatory Historian

 

Astronomers Without Borders Offers Giveaway Of Solar Viewing Glasses To Underserved Communities

Astronomers_Without_BordersAstronomers Without Borders (AWB) is excited to announce that in celebration of the upcoming August 21, 2017 total solar eclipse, it will be providing over 100,000 solar viewing glasses to underserved communities across the United States.

The donation recipients will be selected from deserving groups serving minority based-schools, youth community centers, children’s hospitals and others through an online registration process on the AWB website.

“This eclipse is historic, with a huge effort underway by organizations across the country to prepare people for the experience and use this rare opportunity to teach science,” said Mike Simmons, President and Founder of AWB. “We’re very pleased to be able to provide access to eclipse viewing to those who might otherwise miss out, thanks to the generosity of our sponsors.”

This large giveaway is made possible by the generous donations of glasses from AWB partners Google (50,000 glasses), Big Kid Science with an additional contribution from the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (50,000 glasses) and the American Astronomical Society (3,200 Eclipse Megamovie project glasses).

On August 21, 2017, a stunning total eclipse of the Sun will sweep across the continental U.S. from coast to coast for the first time in nearly a century. While lucky skywatchers located along a narrow corridor running from Oregon to South Carolina will witness the dramatic total eclipse, everyone across the country will have an opportunity to see, with proper eye protection, at least a partial eclipse.

AWB also has solar glasses available for purchase to the general public. All proceeds from sales go directly to support AWB international grassroots science outreach programs.

To apply to receive the eclipse glasses, visit the AWB Glasses Giveaway page.

Press Release by Astronomers Without Borders

Astronomer Profile: Dr. Deidre Hunter

Note: Seven Lowell Observatory astronomers will participate in the 2017 Lowell Observatory Solar Eclipse Experience in Madras, Oregon on August 20-21. We will profile each in separate blogs. Today, we introduce Dr. Deidre Hunter.

Education

Deidre Hunter earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona in 1975 and a Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of Illinois in 1982.

Research Interests

Dr. Deidre HunterDr. Hunter’s primary scientific interest is tiny irregular galaxies—how they originate, evolve, and produce stars and star clusters, and how they are shaped. She held postdoctoral fellowships at the Kitt Peak National Observatory and the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism of the Carnegie Institution of Washington before coming to Lowell Observatory in 1986.

Dr. Hunter also runs Lowell’s Navajo-Hopi Astronomy Outreach Program. This is a science enrichment and outreach program for 5 th – 8 th grade Navajo and Hopi teachers and their classes. The program pairs astronomers with teachers for one year. The astronomer visits the classroom throughout the year, leading astronomy discussions and hands-on activities in collaboration with the teacher. Largely due to her commitment to this long-running and innovative program, Hunter was awarded the American Astronomical Society’s prestigious Education Prize in 2014.

Fun Fact

Dr. Deidre HunterDr. Hunter and her husband (fellow Lowell astronomer Dr. Phil Massey) have backpacked in the Grand Canyon 21 times, the last three with their daughter. They have also rafted down the Colorado River on commercial trips twice, paddling the entire way, and will be taking their daughter on her first trip in the summer of 2017.

Lowell Observatory Solar Eclipse Experience Presentation

Date: Monday, August 21, 11 a.m.

Title: Tiny Galaxies and Baby Stars

Description: Dwarf irregular galaxies are the tiniest galaxies in the universe. Yet, they pose a problem by doing what people say they shouldn’t be able to do: make new stars.

By Kevin Schindler, Lowell Observatory Historian

“Totality by Big Kid Science” – Free App to Help Plan for The Great American Eclipse

Big Kid Science, an educational company founded by astrophysicist Dr. Jeffrey Bennett, has created a free, educational app to help people plan for the upcoming total solar eclipse on Monday, August 21, 2017 — the first total solar eclipse visible from the continental United States in almost four decades.

Eclipse_ AppTotality by Big Kid Science, now available for iOS in the App Store, shows how much of an eclipse you can see at any location, along with the local times at which the eclipse begins, reaches maximum, and ends on August 21. It also uses GPS to show you what you’ll see at your current location and to tell you the nearest locations at which you can see a total solar eclipse. It even offers driving directions if you choose to travel to see totality. The app also includes additional information about how to view the eclipse safely, how eclipses work, activities for families and teachers, and much more.

Developed by Germinate LLC, Totality’s underlying code was provided by Xavier Jubier, creator of sophisticated eclipse maps, including his well-known interactive Google map for the August 21 eclipse.

The iOS version of Totality is now available; an Android version will follow in a few weeks. Though the app is free, there are links to donate to the creators’ favorite nonprofits supporting space/astronomy education: Story Time from Space, Voyage, Astronomers Without Borders, and the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.

To support safe viewing of the eclipse, app creator Big Kid Science, with an additional contribution from the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), is donating 100,000 eclipse glasses, including 50,000 to Astronomers Without Borders for distribution to underserved schools across U.S.; 20,000 to Denver Public Schools; and 22,000 to Idaho Falls Public Schools, plus 5,000 more for eclipse-day events in Idaho Falls. The same glasses can also be purchased directly through the app at a discounted price. The Shop screen also offers a code with which you can get a 30% discount on Big Kid Science books.

Press Release by Big Kid Science

 

Astronomer Profile: Dr. Michael West, Deputy Director for Science

Note: Seven Lowell Observatory astronomers will participate in the 2017 Lowell Observatory Solar Eclipse Experience in Madras, Oregon on August 20-21. We will profile each in separate blogs. Today, we introduce Dr. Michael West.

Michael-West
Education

Michael West earned his PhD from Yale University in 1987.

Research Interests

Dr. Michael West’s research interests include star clusters, galaxy formation and evolution, clusters of galaxies, and the large-scale structure of the universe. One of his more fascinating areas of study focuses on galaxies that are devoured by larger cousins—so-called cannibal galaxies. He has carried out research on every continent except Antarctica and served as director of the Maria Mitchell Observatory, head of science in Chile for the European Southern Observatory, head of science operations at the Gemini South Observatory, and a tenured professor of astronomy at the University of Hawaii.

Michael-WestDr. West is also active in astronomy education and outreach. He served as chief astronomy advisor for the ‘Imoloa Astronomy Center of Hawaii, a $28 million facility that weaves together astronomy and Hawaiian culture into a compelling story of human exploration.

Dr. West is a gifted writer whose work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, USA Today, and other publications. His most recent book, A Sky Wonderful with Stars: 50 Years of Modern Astronomy on Maunakea, has been nominated for the 2017 Ka Palapala Po’okela Awards that recognize “Hawaii’s finest books and their authors.”

Fun Fact

Dr. West has both Canadian and American citizenship, and says he can name all 13 provinces and territories, in addition to all 50 states, without ever once using the word “eh.”

Lowell Observatory Solar Eclipse Experience Presentation

Date: Monday, August 21, 1 p.m.

Title: Guided by the Night: Do Animals See the Stars?

Description: Humans aren’t the only animals that look to the heavens. Some animals use the stars to

guide their migrations. Others use them to find food. And some animals can’t see them at all.

By Kevin Schindler, Lowell Observatory Historian

Astronomer Profile: Dr. Jeff Hall, Observatory Director

jeffrrey-hall-astronomer

Note: Seven Lowell Observatory astronomers will participate in the 2017 Lowell Observatory Solar Eclipse Experience in Madras, Oregon on August 20-21. We will profile each in separate blogs. Today, we introduce Jeff Hall, who also serves as Observatory director.

Education

Jeff Hall earned a BA in physics from Johns Hopkins University in 1986 and a Ph.D. in astronomy and astrophysics from Pennsylvania State University in 1991.

Research Interests

Dr. Jeff Hall joined the Lowell Observatory staff in 1992 as a postdoctoral research fellow. He works with a team of other scientists on Lowell’s Solar-Stellar Spectrograph project, a long-term program involving monitoring of solar and stellar activity cycles, with the goal of lending an astronomical perspective to solar influences on terrestrial climate.

Dr. Hall has served as Lowell’s director since June 2010. He is the incoming chair of the American Astronomical Society’s standing committee on light pollution, space debris, and radio interference, and has played a leading role in dark-sky preservation efforts around Arizona.

In the Community

In the community, he serves as a member of Flagstaff’s leadership group, the Northern Arizona Leadership Alliance, and is former president of the Governing Board of Northland Preparatory Academy, a college-prep charter school, as well as of the Board of Directors of the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra. His principal avocation is music and he has been the substitute organist for the Episcopal Church of the Epiphany as long as he has lived in Flagstaff.

Fun Fact

jeffrey-hall-astronomer

Dr. Hall is an avid bicyclist and for years has tracked his cycling progress by a system named after early 20th century astrophysicist and biking enthusiast Arthur Eddington, who devised the scheme. The so-called Eddington Number (which Eddington was far too modest to call it himself) is defined as “the largest integer n, such that one had cycled at least n miles on n different days”. Hall’s current Eddington Number is 36.

Lowell Observatory Solar Eclipse Experience Presentations

Date: Sunday, August 20, 6 p.m.; Monday, August 21, 7 a.m.

Title: What to Expect When You’re Expecting an Eclipse

Description: Circumstances of eclipses, what we see when one happens, what we learn about the Sun (and other stars) from eclipses.

Astronomer Profile: Dr. Gerard van Belle

astronomer-gerard-van-belle
Andrew Holt Frazier

Note: Seven Lowell Observatory astronomers will participate in the 2017 Lowell Observatory Solar Eclipse Experience in Madras, Oregon on August 20-21. We will profile each in separate blogs. Today, we introduce Dr. Gerard van Belle.

Education

Gerard van Belle received a bachelor’s degree in physics from Whitman College in 1990, a master’s in physics from The Johns Hopkins University in 1993, and a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Wyoming in 1996.

Research Interests
astronomer-gerard-van-belle
Andrew Holt Frazier

Dr. van Belle has been on the Lowell Observatory faculty since August of 2011. He builds and uses the highest-resolution optical telescopes available on the planet to learn about the sizes, shapes, and surfaces of stars. These parameters tell us about the internal structure and evolution of stars, information which is essential to understanding new planets being discovered around nearby stars. Dr. van Belle has also applied high-resolution, high-precision astronomical techniques to detect such planets and map the surfaces of stars.

He was recently named the director of the Navy Precision Optical Interferometer (NPOI), a project operated in partnership by Lowell, the Naval Research Lab (NRL), and the U.S. Naval Observatory (USNO). Before working at Lowell, he served as an instrument scientist for the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) facility in Chile and an instrument architect for NASA’s Keck Interferometer in Hawaii.

Fun Fact

In the August 12, 2014 issue of Esquire magazine, Dr. van Belle was featured as one of 22 men who are redefining style across America.

Lowell Observatory Solar Eclipse Experience Presentations

Date: Sunday, August 20, 8 p.m.

Title: An Explosion of Exoplanets: How Microscopic Eclipses have led to Detections of Nearby Worlds

Description: Twenty years of detecting planets orbiting other stars will be discussed, with the

vast majority of them being found to date via shadows in the light.

Date: Monday, August 21, 2 p.m.

Title: The Pluto Vote: One Astronomer’s Personal Story.

Description: While Dr. van Belle does not study Pluto, he was on hand at the International Astronomical Union’s 2006 meeting during which Pluto was kicked out of the Sun’s family of planets. His accidental involvement makes for an amusing story.

By Kevin Schindler, Lowell Observatory Historian