Astronomy news: 6 eclipses in 2011, NASA notes it’s "a rarity"

There’s lots of reasons for sky watchers to keep looking up, the most important is because we are commanded to keep watching for Him, but another one is as NASA notes, “Four partial solar and two total lunar eclipses take place in 2011. This 4:2 combination of solar and lunar eclipses in a single year is rather rare with only six cases during the 21st Century (2011, 2029, 2047, 2065, 2076 and 2094). The first and last eclipses always occur in January and December. The dates and types of eclipses during 2011 are as follows:”
2011 Jan 04: Partial Solar Eclipse
2011 Jun 01: Partial Solar Eclipse
2011 Jun 15: Total Lunar Eclipse
2011 Jul 01: Partial Solar Eclipse
2011 Nov 25: Partial Solar Eclipse
2011 Dec 10: Total Lunar Eclipse”

Six times in a year out of 100 years is a rarity indeed.

MSNBC reports and uses the word rare as well, “Rare treat coming: Three eclipses in June and July“. Sorry, the partial solar midnight sun eclipse is already gone by.

‘Midnight’ solar eclipse of June 2 “The eclipse begins on Thursday, June 2, at dawn in northern China and Siberia, then moves across the Arctic, crossing the International Date Line and ending in the early evening of Wednesday, June 1, in northeastern Canada. That’s right: The eclipse begins on Thursday and ends on Wednesday because of the International Date Line. Because observers in northern Russia and Scandinavia will be observing it over the North Pole, they will actually see it in what is, for them, the middle of the night of June 1 and 2.”
Solar eclipse no one will see on July 1 “Exactly a month later, on Friday, July 1, an equally bizarre eclipse will occur in the Antarctic. Because this is the southern winter, the sun will be below the horizon for almost all of Antarctica, except for a small uninhabited stretch of coast due south of Madagascar. The only place the eclipse will clear the horizon will be in a small area of the Southern Ocean, far to the south of South Africa. Chances are that this eclipse will be witnessed only by penguins and sea birds.”
Lunar eclipse of June 15 “Exactly halfway in between these two partial solar eclipses, there will be a total eclipse of the moon on Wednesday, June 15. The eclipse will be visible for millions of people in Africa, the Middle East and southwestern Asia. It will be visible as the moon rises in the early evening in South America and Europe, and as the moon sets before dawn in eastern Asia and Australia.”

If you have telescope or binoculars, keep looking to the skies. Although, some things are happening for which image enlargement is not necessary–

This shot from a NASA fireball-watching camera shows a meteor over Macon, Ga., on the evening of May 20, 2011, source NASA. “A brilliant meteor blazed through the sky above Georgia recently, and two NASA fireball-monitoring cameras caught the dramatic display on video. The meteor was caused by a human-size chunk of an unknown comet. It was the brightest meteor yet recorded by NASA’s fireball-observing network — based at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. — in its nearly three years of operation, officials said. The 6-foot-wide (1.8-meter) space rock barrelled into Earth’s atmosphere at 10:47 p.m. EDT on May 20 (0247 GMT on May 21), about 66 miles (106 kilometers) above the city of Macon, Ga.”

Keep looking up! Things are hoppin’ up there!

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