(Video: 2016 Star Gazing)
This week, from today August 11th to Saturday August 13th will be the Perseid Meteor Shower, a shower that will show approximately 200 meteors per hour. On August 11th, 1999, there was another astronomical phenomenon that took the world by storm: the total eclipse.
Though it could only have been seen in full over Cornwall in southwest England, it was the first solar eclipse visible from the UK for more than 70 years, according to the Armagh Observatory. Though there have been other types of eclipses, what makes this a total phenomenon is the fact that unlike the annular or the partial, the Moon’s angular diameter is greater than that of the Sun’s.
For those of us who don’t speak science, it means that the Moon was actually close enough to Earth to actually be considered larger than the Sun from where we’re standing. For an annular eclipse, the Moon is only slightly smaller than the Sun, and for a partial eclipse, the Moon is only “taking a bite” out of the Sun.
What’s odd about the whole event, though, was not the fact that it hadn’t happened for more than 70 years; in fact, it was the coincidental torrential downpour that occurred right at the moment of totality in some places, according to BBC.
Across the world there were various reactions. Some, like Muslims in Egypt, shut themselves in by orders of their clerics, while others like in Sicily crammed the streets. It was called the Eclipse of the Millenium, and for good reason.
So even though we should definitely get excited about a meteor shower that has happened every year at around this time, let’s not forget that eclipses are like the rare Pokemon of the space world – they don’t show up that often.
What are some really cool space facts that you know?