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  • Most people think of astronomy as a nighttime activity, but if you're like me and hate staying up late, you're in luck.

  • As it turns out, there's a whole lot of fascinating celestial objects and phenomena that can only be observed in the bright light of day.

  • And this is great news for you city dwellers.

  • You can get just as good of you as star gazers located in places where light pollution isn't an issue.

  • From the moon to the stars to various planets and astronomical events, there's a whole sky to explore before the sun dips below the horizon.

  • It may not seem obvious, but as I like to remind my students, the closest star to us is actually the son.

  • That massive, glowing ball of mostly hydrogen and helium is pretty hard to miss, especially considering that it fuels all life on Earth.

  • Paradoxically, the sun is also an object that we really need to avoid looking at directly but safely, observing the sun is possible with some creative maneuvering.

  • One approach is to take a telescope and fit a special solar filter over its front end so that the sun's brightness and it's harmful wavelengths get locked.

  • Another safe way to get a look at the sun is to project its image onto a white card.

  • Place the card behind a small telescope or a pair of binoculars.

  • Focus the eye piece a little, and the sun's visible surface will come into view.

  • But what do actual astronomers use to view the sun?

  • We asked Gerald Muskegon, an astronomer who actually works right here at Chabot Space and Science Center.

  • Okay, this is a specialized telescope.

  • This telescope is designed only for looking at the sun, and it looks at the sun using only one wavelength of light that's produced by hot hydrogen on the sun, which is kind of a reddish orange color.

  • So when I look into the telescope, I can see a lot more detail.

  • I can see factually.

  • These are like bubbles on the surface of the sun is caused by the conviction in the sun.

  • We can also see solar prominence.

  • Is some gas being pushed off the surface of the sun?

  • I can see a couple of flares, so if we put this type of a white light filter on the telescope, it blocks more than 99% of the light.

  • As I look through here, I can see the white disc of the sun.

  • One of the cool things that I can see right away is there are a couple of sunspots on the sun.

  • Sun spots are the darker regions of our stars surface.

  • They can be as big as the size of our planet.

  • The sun's magnetic field lines are so tangled up in these regions that he can no longer escape.

  • But occasionally a sudden release of this concentrated energy will happen, resulting in solar flares and coronal mass ejections that carry radiation and energetic particles out so far that they disrupt our power grids here on earth.

  • Mhm Just like the sun, the moon can also be seen during the day.

  • It just doesn't always grab as much of our attention.

  • Look for it before a full moon in the afternoon and after a full moon in the morning, when it's in a thick crescent phase and the sky is clear and blue.

  • And if you look really close on the right day, you might even see a smaller crescent sitting beside the moon.

  • That bright spot is Venus.

  • If Venus is up in the daytime, which it often is.

  • And if it's far enough away from the sun, you can actually point this telescope at Venus without a filter.

  • If Venus is at the right angle, you'll see it having phases like the moon has phases.

  • Venus changes position in the sky from day to day and hour by hour.

  • You have to be able to point the telescope accurately.

  • And to do that you need to know the coordinates of Venus.

  • On the day that you're going to be looking for nearly all astronomical pursuits.

  • Timing is everything.

  • But for daytime astronomy, it can be especially important.

  • One of the things you got to keep in mind is that the Earth is orbiting around the sun at 30 kilometers per second.

  • So if your clock is off by just a few seconds and you're trying to accurately plot the position of an object in the sky, being off by three or four seconds means your position is gonna be off by 30 60 90 or more kilometers.

  • So it's real important that you have very accurate timing if you're going to be making scientific observations with your telescope.

  • A prime example of This is a phenomenon you may have heard of and even tried to see yourself.

  • The green flash.

  • This flash happens when the sun's upper rim turns green for a few split seconds as it sets and rises beyond the horizon.

  • It's most commonly spotted over the ocean, but mountaintops and high buildings offer a good vantage point to another site worth catching during the dwindling daylight is a shadow.

  • That's right.

  • If you find yourself in a place that's wide open to the east at sunset or to the west at sunrise, you'll actually be able to see our planet shadow reflected on the atmosphere.

  • Just look for a blue gray band across the horizon that's opposite the sunset or sunrise.

  • It will resemble a haze or an approaching storm.

  • One of my favorite daytime viewing experiences is when there is a solar eclipse.

  • If you're in the right place on the earth at the right time, you can actually watch the moon passing in front of the sun.

  • You not only see the detail on the sun like sunspots, but it can see the silhouette of mountains as the edge of the moon passes in front of the sun.

  • So there you have it.

  • Astronomy isn't just for those of us who like to or have to stay up late.

  • Next time you're outside, look for Venus beside the moon or earth casting a shadow on us.

  • It's a vast sky, and there's truly something for everyone to discover.

  • I'm Sarafina Nance, and this is seeker constellations.

  • If there's another astronomy topic you'd like to see us cover, let us know down in the continent's thanks for watching.

Most people think of astronomy as a nighttime activity, but if you're like me and hate staying up late, you're in luck.

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The Rare Celestial Phenomena That Can Only Be Seen Before Nightfall

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    林宜悉 posted on 2021/03/26
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