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AAAA News and Activities

The Christmas Eclipse

December 25, 2000  - 10:36 a.m. to 2:43 p.m. EST

View AAAA Member Roseann Johnston's Photos of the Eclipse

Christmas Eclipse 2000

 I shot this photo thru a Celestron 11" SCT during maximum eclipse (58%) from Bridgewater, Massachusetts. Wind chill was bitterly cold but proved to be worth the effort when I picked up my pictures at Wal-Mart today!!

Stephen LaFlamme
The "AstroGeek"

Lee and Doug Crenshaw in Jacksonville, FL, positioned the eclipsed sun at the top of their own astronomical Christmas Tree.

The Crenshaws have a glass solar filter that they used to view the eclipse through their Celestron Short Tube 80-mm telescope. They removed the filter for these shots taken with their Olympus OM-1 SLR camera, using a 50mm lens at f/16, for 1/500 sec exposure.

A Christmas Present for North America
from the Solar System

The Leonics - Photo by AAAA Member Brenda Culbertson

On December 25, 2000, observers in North America will receive a Christmas present from the Sun and the Moon - a Partial Solar Eclipse. This eclipse will begin at  15:36 UT, with mid-eclipse at 17:30 UT, and end at 19:43 UT.  Perfectly placed for viewers in North America, this event is an exciting opportunity for astronomers to share one of the wonders of the universe with their families on this Universal Holiday.

The further north you live, the greater the eclipse you will see. Viewers in eastern Canada can see an eclipse of almost 60 percent, while viewers in the southwestern United States and Mexico can observe only a 20 to 30 percent eclipse.

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon is positioned between the sun and the Earth. The moon then casts a shadow on the Earth's surface, and also obscures the solar disk.

During a total eclipse, the moon's dark inner shadow, called the umbra, strikes the Earth. During a partial eclipse, only the fainter outer shadow, called the penumbra, strikes the Earth.

A full solar eclipse can cause brief, localized darkness, but during a partial eclipse, only a slight dimming of sunlight during maximum eclipse will be perceptible.

At maximum eclipse, the solar disk will resemble a cookie with a hearty bite taken out of one side.

Safe Eclipse Observing

This is a perfect opportunity to use that new telescope you got for Christmas, as long as you make sure you have that that new solar filter in place for your viewing

The American Optometric Association warns skywatchers not to look directly at the eclipsed sun. "Looking at the solar eclipse withoug proper protection can result in serious eye damage," the association warns in a statement. To view the eclipse, the experts recommend special equipment, such as a welder's lens, a pinhole camera, or other indirect viewing equipment.


AAAA Members 
Observe Christmas Eclipse


Heidi and I just came back from Foothill College, where the Peninsula Astronomical Society maintains the Solar telescope ... and I quickly processed these -- very hastily:

Through a 10x50 binoculars.

This one was taken in our backyard after we got home, just to show sunspots, which were spectacular! There was a thin film of moisture in the air which became thicker after we came home. But, we were quite lucky to have seen this much.

This was the way the morning started -- on the mountain peak to the left is the Lick Observatory.

Merry Christmas!

 isaac+Heidi Kikawada


I did get a spectacular view here in New England. I used a terrific pair of glasses from AAAA. Even my hubby who finds astronomy boring was impressed. My kids were awed as was my sister who was here for dinner. Way cool. This is the first one I've seen since I was a kid. I made an eclipse box but didn't need it. Good thing cuz the wind chill was -20 here today -- YIKES

Merry Christmas, my astro-friends!



Down here in Alabama I thoroughly enjoyed the eclipse!!!! Went outside at 10:10 a.m. and it had already started. Scott and the kids even went out with me to enjoy it!!! By 11 it was at about 40 %. 

I even tried something. Now, I don't have a fancy camera that does those type pictures, but I did hold my solar shades up in front of my little 110 camera and tried it. ( OKAY, OKAY.....I can already hear the snickers out there, but, hey, I had to try it!!!!) When I get it developed I'll let ya'll know if it worked. Okay, I know it sounds funny....and I can just "picture" ya'll rolling on the floors laughing at my attempts to photograph the solar eclipse with a 110 camera that I paid one dollar for three years ago!!!!!

Roseann Johnson

Topeka, Kansas

God still has that sense of humor! Ha! We missed the first half of the eclipse today, but got peeks of it beginning around 11:15. I say peeks because the clouds thinned and made observing pockets. That's the only way we saw any of it in Topeka. The clouds made a really, really good filter, too. I didn't have to put the filter on my scope! Cool! Tom, my adult volunteer assistant, showed up to help me with the observing session, and he and I did the pocket astronomy. I shot a few photos with my 400 mm lens and the 50 mm lens. The photos should be ready tomorrow if the Fotomat isn't overwhelmed with Christmas pictures.

Mark Cunningham in Colorado saw it, too. I don't know if he has any photos yet or not, but I asked him to send a couple to me if he got any.

I let Tom see last contact today. He deserved it because he came out on the cold day. It was pretty miserable, but when we got a glimpse of the eclipse, we warmed up pretty fast.

Brenda Culbertson

Looting at the sun directly without proper protection 
is dangerous and can permanently damage your eyesight.

Eclipse Shades

Dear AAAA Member:

We did not want you to miss the Christmas Partial Solar Eclipse on December 25, 2000, so we decided to send each of you a pair of solar shades. These are made of very high quality film, and give you the natural "orange" color. A chart of how much of the sun will be covered in your area is included with these glasses. But the good news is that you don't have to wait until Christmas to use these. Since we are in solar maximum, you can go outside any time and observe those big naked eye sunspots you hear so much about. So let's all get interested in solar observing, and please enjoy the glasses. Best regards,

John Wagoner - President, 
Ed Flaspoehler - Vice-President 
American Association of Amateur Astronomers

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