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On February 26, 1998, a total solar eclipse darkened skies in a swath stretching from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic, across the Caribbean. From the island of Aruba, an Exploratorium team presented a live Webcast of this celestial event.
At the time, Webcasting technology was in its infancy, and this first live Webcast ever of a solar eclipse broke existing records for the number of viewers. Watch the archived Webcast here, or just click on the images below for still photos of eclipse highlights. On the cliffs above San Francisco's Ocean Beach perches a landmark observatory—a giant camera obscura. Step inside with Robert Tacchetto and see how this centuries-old technology creates enchanting images of the outside world.
Watch the beginning of Venus’s transit across the disk of the sun, one of the rarest astronomical events. Watch the conclusion of Venus’s 6.5-hour journey across the disk of the sun, one of the rarest astronomical events. Senior Exploratorium Scientist, Paul Doherty demonstrates how you can make your own sun viewer. You can safely view sunspots, eclipses and transits with this equipment that you may have laying around the house!
To learn more about the upcoming Transit of Venus visit: http://www.exploratorium.edu/venus/question3.html Astronomer Dr. Isabel Hawkins's journey to the stars began with two chance moments of enchantment with celestial bodies in her native Argentina. Inspired by the mystery of the sky, she went on to study physics and astronomy in California and then to work for 20 years as a research astronomer at UC Berkeley. Now retired from research and devoted to inciting a love of the stars and sky in young people, Dr. Hawkins reflects on her own initial moments of inspiration, on sharing her love of stars with others, and on how astronomy can, and should, remind us of our connection to one another, under a canopy of mystery.
The Exploratorium Eclipse team drives back to Urumqi with our partners from XJTV, after the live broadcast. It was pretty hot, probably above 40 °C most of the way, and a 14 hour drive. This is a time-compressed video of of the trip out to the Weizi Gorge (Yiwu) along China’s cloud-covered Silk Road. While in the field, the Exploratorium Eclipse remote team had a love/hate relationship with the clouds. The cloudscape of the Weizi Gorge was so spectacular it was easy to overlook that our fluffy friends could have potentially blocked our main reason for lugging 1700 lbs. of gear out to the edge of the Gobi Desert-the total solar eclipse! This is a short time-lapse video of the sky at our camp one day before the eclipse. On August 1, 2008, a total solar eclipse occurred as the new moon moved directly between the sun and the earth. The moon's umbral shadow fell on parts of Canada, Greenland, the Arctic Ocean, Russia, Mongolia, and China. The Exploratorium's eclipse expedition team (our fifth!) Webcast the eclipse live from the remote Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in northwestern China near the Mongolian border. Watch the telescope-only stream of the total solar eclipse that occurred on August 1, 2008.