Solar Eclipse 2015 – for the press

Press release March 13th, 2015

A group of astronomers will travel to the Faroe Islands to observe and broadcast the next Solar Eclipse (web: sky-live.tv). The crew is made up of GLORIA team members. The goal of GLORIA is to disseminate astronomy and to support newcomers in understanding astronomical phenomena.

Why have GLORIA astronomers chosen such a remote location for the live broadcast?

Miquel Serra-Ricart, the former chief of the expedition said “Observing this eclipse will be very difficult, since the shadow will only touch land in two arctic archipelagos, Faroe and Svalbard, and the totality last for a maximum of 2 minutes and 47 seconds. Furthermore, the high probability of clouds add to the observational challenge”. To choose the correct location, Serra-Ricart had to consider not only the visibility of the eclipse, but also the best chance of good weather, the quality of the roads and the safety of the expedition.

Miquel, an astronomer at the IAC, is a highly experienced eclipse observer – this will be his eleventh expedition as leader. The first was in 1998, in the middle of the Atlantic: “No two eclipses are the same and there are always unexpected new phenomena“. Miquel highlights two features that add interest to the event: the Sun is now close to the maximum activity of the current cycle (solar cycles last approximately 11 years) and the observing site is also well placed for viewing the Northern Lights. “The probability is very low but we might witness a double show at the time of totality: the solar corona flanked by auroral green lights, a dream!“.

During this eclipse, Europe will do a live test of adapting its electrical grid to astronomical events which may cause fluctuations in the power supply because of the nowadays relevant production of electricity through solar panels (when in 1999 a similar eclipse occurred over Europe, only 0.1% of the electricity was produced by solar cell plants). Considering that by 2020, the European Union and its member states have pledged to achieve a rate of 20% renewable energy on total consumption in the area: “This eclipse is an opportunity to investigate the impact of events of this type on the stability of the power grid. GLORIA will collect environmental data (temperature, pressure, solar radiation, humidity) recorded from Tórshavn, the capital of the Faroe Islands, which will be available to the experts. We will not have a similar total eclipse in Europe again until 2027” Miquel Serra mentioned. The data obtained will also be made available to schools for educational activities through the GLORIA portal (gloria-project.eu) and astroaula.net.

From Continental Europe and the UK, partiality will only be observed, reaching maximum coverage of the solar disk in the more northern areas (Ireland, Scotland and Norway) with observers in Spain seeing the solar disk occulted by more than 50% in the Galician Community (see Annex 1).

GLORIA is a three-year project financed by the Seventh Framework Program of the European Union (FP7/2007-2012) under agreement number 283783. GLORIA is composed of 13 institutions (UPM, ASU-CAS, CSIC, CTU, FZU-CAS, IAC, INAF, SAO, UCD, UCH, UMA, UOX, UWAR) from 8 countries with a total of 17 robotic telescopes on four continents: Africa, Asia, Europe, and South America. These will be made available to all via the Internet for tele-operation and image-acquisition.

The Centre for Maritime Studies at the University of the Faroe Islands will participate in the broadcasting. Three Spanish supercomputing centers CETA-CIEMAT (Centro Extremeño de Tecnologías Avanzadas), CSUC (Consorci de Serveis Universitaris de Catalunya) and IAC (Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias) will collaborate in the distribution of the web portal retransmission (sky-live.tv).

The GLORIA project website: gloria-project.eu

The educational activities for schools will be available in:
http://astroaula.net/recursos-didacticos/actividades/eclipse-atmosfera/

Broadcast information here

The information activities organized during the eclipse will be available in (courtesy of OSAE and AAM)
http://www.osae.info/saros/2015/2015_eclipse_espana.htm

Images in high resolution of previous total solar eclipses:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/65131760@N06/sets/72157634767436442/

Videos of previous total solar eclipses:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL6oc5e7lSjeLHZ24RZ1ymjiOjKXZFl1Wp

Blog: http://journal.shelios.com/

Contact IAC: Miquel Serra-Ricart, researcher of the IAC, mserra@iac.es


ANNEX 1.- Local time table (March 20th, 2015).

 

-Islas Faroe, Torshavn-

Duration of the total solar eclipse: 2 minutos

Contacts Tie (UT) Alt Azi
Start partiality (C1) : 08:38:50 13.8° 118.1°
Start total solar eclipse (C2) : 09:40:52 19.7° 133.1°
Maximum eclipse: 09:41:53 19.8° 133.3°
End of the total eclipse (C3) : 09:42:53 19.9° 133.6°
End of the partial eclipse (C4) : 10:47:39 24.6° 150.3°

 

-A Coruña-

Partial Solar Eclipse: Occultation 76,01%

Contacts Time (UT) Alt Azi
Start partiality : 08:06:16.9 15.1° 105.1°
Maximum eclipse: 09:09:24.1 25.8° 117.5°
End of the partial eclipse 10:17:51.7 35.9° 133.7°

-Madrid-

Partial Solar Eclipse: Occultation 66,47%

Contacts Time (UT) Alt Azi
Start partiality : 08:04:57.8 19.1° 107.5°
Maximum eclipse: 09:08:47.9 30.2° 120.1°
End of the partial eclipse 10:18:08.9 40.6° 137.3°

-Barcelona-

Partial Solar Eclipse: Occultation 63,46%

Contacts Time (UT) Alt Azi
Start partiality : 08:11:12.0 24.0° 113.5°
Maximum eclipse: 09:16:52.0 34.6° 127.9°
End of the partial eclipse 10:27:39.0 43.6° 147.7°

 

-Tenerife-

Partial Solar Eclipse: Occultation 46,28%

Contacts Time (UT) Alt Azi
Start partiality : 07:45:10.2 07.0° 094.1°
Maximum eclipse: 08:39:09.5 18.8° 100.9°
End of the partial eclipse 09:38:22.2 31.3° 109.6°