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Eclipse!: The What, Where, When, Why, and How Guide to Watching Solar and Lunar Eclipses 1st Edition

6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0471127956
ISBN-10: 0471127957
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Eclipse!: The What, Where, When, Why, and How Guide to Watching Solar and Lunar Eclipses + Totality: Eclipses of the Sun + Total Solar Eclipses and How to Observe Them (Astronomers' Observing Guides)
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

At one point, Eclipse! takes time off from its primary task--a detailed technical guide to observing and recording eclipses around the globe--to tell the admonitory tale of the pupils of a school in Baltimore, Maryland. These eager and inquisitive children were not only kept in by their teachers during the event (owing to "legal considerations"), they were not even allowed near the windows! Of course, on the list of Things That Are Bound to Ruin Your Eclipse, other people's idiocy comes quite low. The top contenders are usually clouds and bad traffic. Lazy journalists who tell those of us disappointed on the day of an eclipse that this was "our only chance to see an eclipse" only fray our tempers further. This is, of course, nonsense. Eclipses happen all over the world at reasonably frequent intervals, and over the next few years they will be visible from many exciting locations. (Harare, 2001, anyone?) Philip Harrington's handsomely illustrated technical manual (none of your poorly reproduced NASA Web-site maps here) is both a resource for experienced eclipse chasers and an excellent introduction for those bitten by the eclipse bug. As one observer says, "No matter how much totality you've seen, it's never enough. Nicotine, alcohol, gambling, any conventional addiction you can think of; umbral dependence is worse." --Simon Ings, Amazon.co.uk

From the Publisher

From the dramatic, ring-of-fire solar eclipse, to the less flashy, but unique beauty of a lunar eclipse, here is all the down-to-earth information you need to capture and appreciate these heavenly phenomena. No other guide provides such depth of coverage, including an extensive section on how to best photograph or video an eclipse, plus where and when to best view all upcoming eclipses through the year 2017, and how to get ready for the total solar eclipse due in February 1998! Includes maps, drawings and photographs.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (September 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471127957
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471127956
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,755,246 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

A lifelong amateur astronomer, Phil Harrington was bitten by the "astronomical bug" when he was assigned to watch the total lunar eclipse of April 1968 as a homework assignment. Since then, Phil has spent countless hours touring the universe through telescopes and binoculars. He is a former staff member of New York City's Hayden Planetarium and instructor at the Vanderbilt Planetarium in Centerport, New York.

Phil is an adjunct professor at Suffolk County Community College, Selden, New York, where he teaches courses in stellar and planetary astronomy. He is a founding member of the Westport (CT) Astronomical Society and is also one of the coordinators of the annual Astronomer's Conjunction, held every summer in Northfield, MA.

Phil is also a contributing editor for Astronomy magazine, where he frequently reviews telescopes, binoculars, and other astronomical equipment, as well as authors observing features. Phil has also written the magazine's monthly "Binocular Universe" column (from 2005-2009) as well as a quarterly on-line column on Astronomy.com entitled "Phil Harrington's Challenge Objects." "Binocular Universe" migrated to Cloudynights.com in June 2009. In addition, he has written for Deep Sky and Sky & Telescope magazines.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 12, 1999
Format: Paperback
I have been planning my trip to view the August 1999 total solar eclipse for a few years now. It's almost here!! Thanks to this book, the best about eclipses by far, I am ready! Chapters detail traveling to other countries, what to bring, how to photograph eclipses, and even information about *every* eclipse between now and 2017. It even gives details about expected climatological conditions!
This book is more than solar eclipses, however. It also gives me new appreciation for lunar eclipses as well. There is a beauty coming up in January 2000 that will be visible right from my backyard. I'm now ready for that one, too!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jill Malter on July 8, 2006
Format: Paperback
Yes, this book is a little bit dated, given that it gives plenty of advice about how to observe the solar eclipses from 1998 to 2017, and we're nearly halfway through that time period already.

The book tells us about the main things one sees during an eclipse. Until the Sun is nearly covered by the Moon, there are few changes. But once the Sun is almost covered, things do change a little, in a spooky manner. There is still plenty of light; it isn't at all dark yet. It may be a little cooler, of course. But everything looks a little strange, because the Sun has been reduced to almost a point source. Harrington does not emphasize this, but shadows get much, much sharper. It's weird.

Meanwhile, Harrington does spend some time telling about the shadow bands (on the landscape) that one may observe shortly before totality. These are not easy to see, and they are nearly impossible to photograph.

And then, you may get to see the Moon's shadow rushing toward you at 1000 miles per hour. Once it reaches you, that's the start of totality. As you get close to totality, the only sunlight is that which sneaks through some of the Moon's valleys: it is called "Bailey's beads." The final few seconds before totality, there is only one bead left, and that is called "the Diamond Ring."

By now, the horizon looks like a 360-degree sunset. And at last, yes, there is totality (and darkness...it is like being outdoors in the middle of the night when the Moon is full), with the Sun and Moon combining to look like a hole in the sky. You get to see the Corona, and if you are lucky, maybe some solar prominences. And it is strange: most humans know from experience that it is Wrong for the Sun to be blocked in the middle of the day.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bernardo Vargas on March 21, 2000
Format: Paperback
I've been lucky to watch 3 total solar eclipses in my life, and still want more! This book was written by an eclipse-addict to help other eclipse-addicts, like me. I feel very grateful to Mr. Harrington for sharing all his experience and regarded knowledge to make the eclipse experience more fun. I'm now planning to watch the 2001 eclipse in Africa based on this book's advises.
The book includes charts, tables, photographic tips, and much more useful information. The only drawback I see is that it has no color pictures.
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