Reply To: Partial solar eclipse of 2022 October 25

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Duncan Hale-Sutton

Hi Alex. Thanks very much for replying to my query. All very interesting.

I must admit that I understood eclipse obscuration (or percentage coverage) better than I did magnitude as you do tend to see predictions for these more in articles in a run up to a partial eclipse. I did look at the BAA handbook and the observer’s challenge beforehand. One thing I could point out as a relative newcomer to all this is that I didn’t understand what the blue line predictions were in the handbook as there didn’t seem to be a key (that I could see, unless perhaps, someone could point me to where it is)! I see now the numbers on the blue lines are probably magnitudes rather than maximum obscuration (I have just learnt something new in that magnitudes are quoted for maximum coverage). On the next page, though, the numbers are given as max obscuration (so even the handbook can’t decide what to display!). However, I do agree with you that magnitudes may be better because they are linear rather than depending on area. I must say that quite a lot of the other numbers quoted on page 13 of the 2022 handbook don’t mean much to me.

I think that what trying to measure the percentage obscuration did for me was to really make me understand what these terms meant and the bit of maths required to calculate the area of intersection of two identical circles was enlightening (no one has yet told me whether what I quoted was right or wrong yet!). Clearly it is more complicated if the sun and the moon are not the same apparent diameter but the same rules apply.

I guess what I am trying to say, perhaps, is that even though the mechanics of the earth moon system is very well known and calculating magnitudes or obscurations from our observations is not going to improve that knowledge, for those of us on the learning curve it is still very instructive!

Thanks for the link to the article. I will have a read of this at some point.