Posted March 1st, 2016
Slooh to Livestream the Total Solar Eclipse from Indonesia with On-site Coverage
StarShare Camera Enables Viewers to Snap and Share Photos throughout the Eclipse
SLOOH is sending Astronomer Paul Cox on a wild expedition to the remote countryside of Indonesia to globally livestream the great spectacle of a total solar eclipse, live on Slooh.com, on March 8th starting at 3:00 PM PST ¦ 6:00 PM EST ¦ 23:00 UTC and ending at 6:00 PM PST ¦ 9:00 PM EST ¦ 02:00 UTC. Cox will be accompanied by a team from the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands (IAC), and he will provide updates of his journey throughout the week on Slooh. In addition to multiple feeds from Indonesia capturing totality, Slooh will have live feeds from several other locations along the eclipse path. The precise location of Slooh’s expeditionary team is being withheld due to security concerns.
Slooh will also feature its new StarShare Camera during the live event, making it possible to snap and share photos during this special eclipse coverage. Slooh is enlisting its fan base to share the images via Twitter and Facebook to call attention to Totality, starting at 7:37 PM EST, when the Moon will completely block out the Sun and enshroud the coverage area in darkness, a celestial moment worthy of a globally synchronous celebration of humanity’s common cause under a shared sky.
In conjunction with appearances at Style Fashion Week during New York Fashion Week and the Wanderlust Yoga Festival in Hawaii, Slooh has been building awareness in advance of the eclipse by encouraging fans to #ShadeUp, as they show they are ready to watch the eclipse by posting photos of themselves wearing eclipse glasses on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
The coverage of the Eclipse will be hosted by Cox and will include a range of special guests including solar expert Dr. Lucie Green and Slooh Astronomer Bob Berman. Viewers can ask questions to the panel during the broadcast via the chatroom and using the Twitter hashtag #SloohEclipse.
Of the many worthy periodic celestial events, casual observers and professional astronomers are unanimous that the brief minutes of solar totality surpasses everything else in terms of spectacle and scientific usefulness. Only at totality can prominences be seen leaping like geysers of pink nuclear flame from the solar limb. Only then do the brighter stars emerge, while the Sun’s ultra-hot corona or outer atmosphere splays far across the sky, its pattern of plasma channeled along visually distinctive magnetic field lines. The very shape of the solar corona appears different and distinctive for each eclipse, and largely depends on the stage of its sunspot cycle.
Another unusual aspect of the March 8th eclipse is its challenging path across Indonesia, and other small island nations. Totality, which in this eclipse is unusually short at just over two minutes, crosses over only a tiny area of land in its long journey over a swath of the Pacific. Slooh’s expedition leader and host of the livestream, Paul Cox said, “What makes this eclipse so challenging to observe is the Moon’s shadow only makes landfall in a 100-mile wide track across Indonesia.”
He went on to say “The Moon’s shadow then races eastward across the Pacific Ocean faster than the speed of sound at an astonishing speed around 1,000mph (1,600kph). We’ll also have live views from our partner observatories in Hawaii when their partial solar eclipse commences.”
Though total solar eclipses occur once every 18 months or so, they are only visible from very specific, and sometimes very remote, locations. Such is the case this March, when totality will be visible only in certain island nations in the North Pacific. That’s why Slooh is packing up our telescopes, and heading across the Pacific to witness this one first hand from Indonesia.
Solar eclipses occur when the Moon’s orbit passes directly between the Earth and the Sun, obscuring part or all of the solar disk. There are several types of solar eclipses, including annular and partial eclipses (when the Moon only obscures a portion of the Sun), and the incredible sight of a Total Solar Eclipse.
So why are there different types of eclipses? The type of eclipse depends on a number of factors having to do with the distance of the Earth from the Sun, and the distance of the Moon from the Earth. Since the orbit of both the Earth around the Sun and the Moon around the Earth are elliptical, the distances between the three bodies changes. When those orbits don’t match up perfectly, you end up with a partial or annular eclipse. But when they match up perfectly — when the Sun and Moon appear the same size in the sky — that’s when the magic happens, if only for a brief few moments. The greatest duration of this eclipse from our expedition location will be just over 2 minutes (beginning at 7:37 PM EST / 00:37 UTC), as the Moon moves to completely cover the solar disk, darkening the skies in the middle of the day.
Solar eclipses are a natural phenomenon, but ancient cultures sometimes regarded them as supernatural occurrence or bad omen. In ancient Greece, the historian Herodotus wrote that an eclipse was predicted during a battle between the Medes and Lydians. When that eclipse occurred, both sides immediately put down their weapons and declared peace.
Because solar eclipses are so easy to predict (and to trace back to a precise date and time), and because they are brilliant events likely to be recorded in the history books, historians have actually used records of previous eclipses to determine exact dates of historical events. Some have even attempted to determine whether an eclipse would account for the darkening of the skies that, according to the Bible, occurred at the crucifixion of Jesus, but so far they haven’t been able to find any conclusive results.
Slooh has been covering eclipses for years, traveling across the globe to bring viewers up close and personal first hand accounts, and unique views of these incredible celestial events. We’ll be doing that once again, as this eclipse is visible in such a small portion of the world.
“But never have I beheld any spectacle which so plainly manifested the majesty of the Creator, or so forcibly taught the lesson of humility to man as a total eclipse of the sun.” James Fenimore Cooper