Cosmic Silhouettes and Other Astronomical Events

Courtesy Photo: Dr. Astalos gave a lunch-time talk on Cosmic Silhouettes.

Armando Montano
The Paw Print

On Wednesday, April 11 Dr. Robert Astalos of Physics presented, “Cosmic Silhouettes.” During the presentation Astalos talked about the history of astronomy, methods of predicting planetary pattern across the sun and solar and lunar eclipses.
Using impressive free downloadable software to track the moon’s movements, attendees of Astalos’ presentation were able to observe an exact replica of some of the most astounding solar events of the past as well as what to expect from phenomenal occurrences in the upcoming future. Attendees learned of the upcoming annular solar eclipse on May 20. An annular solar eclipse was described as being an eclipse in which the sun is blocked out by the moon, however due to is position and apparent size, the moon is not large enough to completely black out the sun. In this case, the sun will peak around the edges of the moon creating a thin-lighted circle surround the moon’s silhouette as observed here on Earth.
Though not directly along the path to best view the eclipse San Luis Valley residents will be able to see a partial annular eclipse. The direct path of the center of the annular solar eclipse goes through the city of Albuquerque with the northernmost path of the eclipse edging close to the state line.
This type of solar event is not necessarily common, so those who are able to get within the event’s viewing area, they are greatly encouraged to do so being that the event is an easy car ride away. Those who are unable to see this annular solar eclipse this time around will have to be patient, as the next solar eclipse won’t be in such close proximity to the San Luis Valley until 2017.
During this presentation, Astalos took time to further elaborate on the Venus transit coming up soon on June 5. During this event, the planet Venus is set to pass in front of the Sun as observed from here on Earth. This event is a once in a lifetime event, as the next time a Venus transit will occur in the year 2117.
The Zacheis Planetarium on campus will be set up to allow those interested in viewing this event safely through several safe sun viewing methods. For more information on cosmic events or the Zacheis Planetarium, visit
The next Lunchtime Talk is scheduled for Wednesday, April 18 with Dr. Ana Vivas-Barber of mathematics presenting a yet to be decided presentation.  All are welcome to attend, in Porter Hall room 130 at noon. For questions concerning the lunchtime talks or more information, please contact Dr. Mat Nehring at 587-7504 or is powered by WordPress µ | Spam prevention powered by Akismet