By Dan Ackerman
Cunning music is certainly not our competition. Newt Scamander, on the other hand, may feel in a league of his own. (See what I did there?)
In ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1,’ fans learned that Harry had a special talent: He can sing songs. “I see glitter of Voldemort’s shadow,” he sang in ‘Love is a Many Splendored Thing.’ This year, the United States will get a chance to see another unique talent: The longest partial lunar eclipse in nearly 600 years, starting Tuesday at about 1pm and lasting until after sunset on Wednesday.
If you don’t fancy lighting up a fire and having a good sing-a-long, you can always go to a science museum, but that’s not quite the same thing. Luckily, there are ways for amateurs to catch it live online or live stream from their local favorite karaoke joint.
Here’s the list of webcasting options.
3:15pm ET, Tuesday (STEMOLOGY 101 beginning at 4:15pm)
Japan Space Exploration Initiative – AMDUK – http://s3.jst.edu/
Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) – http://www.jamae.taiwan.go.jp/
NASA – http://webcast.nasa.gov/ – which is live, 8:15am ET, Tuesday (STEMOLOGY 101 beginning at 4:15pm)
Caltech – http://www.caltech.edu/ – starting at about 7:30pm ET, Tuesday (STEMOLOGY 101 beginning at 4:30pm)
Crowd Goes Wild – http://www.crowdgoto.net/ – starting at about 10pm ET, Tuesday (STEMOLOGY 101 beginning at 4:30pm)
Weather Channel – http://weather.com/s/main/ (Weather Channel is streaming only)
Spaceweather – http://www.spaceweather.com – a live stream, 6pm ET, Tuesday (STEMOLOGY 101 beginning at 4:30pm)
Geek Twitter – @HawaiiWeather
Physicists watch giant ‘sunquake’ live
From the live broadcast, we can glean some general information about this eclipse. The moon will cover between 0.7 and 0.9% of the sun. (We can say that since we know the moon’s size and its orbit around the earth. A 0.7% eclipse on the side of the earth closest to the moon, the moon’s darker, smaller half, is roughly two thirds the diameter of the sun.) The full eclipse will last about 70 minutes and will not completely cover the sun – it will, however, show the sun to have a deep red or orange color, even from Earth’s direct line of view.
The absolute maximum eclipse should be at 3:23pm ET, running about 8 minutes, according to the NASA live stream. During this time, we’ll see a very bright moon covered by the sun, which is called the crescent phase of the eclipse.
So what’s it like to be inside of a total eclipse? It depends on the location you’re watching from. According to NASA, total solar eclipses occur “occasionally when the moon passes between Earth and the sun” but it’s only about 300 times a century. In other words, the total solar eclipse we’ll see on Tuesday will last a little over one tenth of a second. Here’s how that feel to be inside of a total eclipse: