John Pazmino
 NYSkies Astronomy Inc
 2013 October 8 initial
 2013 October 16 current 
    By summer of 2013 astronomers in New York were getting ready for 
solar eclipse of November 3rd at sunrise from the City and vicinity. 
As preparations, including the October 18th NYSkies Seminar, 
progressed, some of the older astronomers recalled an earlier sunrise 
eclipse from New York. That was on 1959 October 2. I watched that 
eclipse on my first travel from my home for an astronomy event. 
    Apart from the stories recounted by these elders there are several 
fascinating features of the two eclipses I discuss here. For one thing 
they are both members of the same Saros series, being 54 years and 31 
days apart! Their global paths are almost the same, from the northeast 
United States thru the middle Atlantic Ocean, thru Africa, to the 
Indian Ocean. 
    I give a recollection of the 1959 eclipse along with an overview 
of the 2013 eclipse. The report for 1959 is based on notes and 
litterature of that period quite two generations ago. Some of the 
information was not easily available in 1959 and was for this piece 
assembled form modern sources.
Early astronomy 
    I can't give a whole discourse on my early development in 
astronomy but touch a few highlights.  My first ever, eclipse I viewed 
from my house on 1954.June 30. 
    The eclipse took place in early morning and was played up in the 
news media. It was total in Canada and the Mid West. Astronomers who 
later became my colleagues went to the centerline to view it. In the 
City is was a large partial on the Sun's north edge. 
    This eclipse ignited my career in astronomy! As I viewed it thru a 
stack of dense B&W negatives, assembled by my father from his 
photography hobby, it freaked me out that a whole other celestial 
body, the Moon, was moving across the Dun's face! 
    I got library books about astronomy, some by myself, others from 
Manhattan libraries thru my father. I located bright stars and some 
planets, like Jupiter and Mars, from the street or yard of my house. 
    I built simple telescopes from reading lenses, which did work well 
enough to see dim stars and resolve coarse clusters. I bought a 
telescope kit, consisting of just the lenses and instructions to go 
and find the other parts. It worked, too, but it was long, clumsy, and 
had no way to properly mount or aim it. 
    I joined the local astronomy club, Junior Astronomy Club (JAC), 
then meeting at New York University on Manhattan. Being a city kid it 
was natural to travel to its meetings by myself by train without 
parents having to take me by car. 
    A very fortunate boost was the International Geophysical Year 
(IGY) of 1957-1958, actually 18 months long. In the IGY, members of 
the JAC were inducted into assorted observing programs, such as 
sunspots, surorae, meteors, and, yes, tracking satellites. 
    A signature event of the IGY was going to be the first artificial 
Earth satellite, Vanguard. The Soviet Union beat us with its Sputnik, 
which I followed in the sky by binoculars. The very satellite was too 
dim to see but the trailing used-up rocket was a naked-eye object. 
    I did one, and only one, round of duty with the Moonwatch project, 
then on the former RCA building. I was a time recorder to listen to 
the calls of the telescopists and write down the time from a large 
clock. The event was a scramble to catch a suspected new Soviet 
satellite.   It was so bitterly cold and windy in the winter of 1957-
1958 that I just had to call it quits after the one instance. 
    In summer of 1959 I built my own astrolabe, a modern version of a 
mediaeval style model. I still have it and it is called on for show-&-
tell by astronomers and historians for their talks about astrolabes. 
    By 1959 I had many astronomy friends from the JAC. The club was 
quite unusual for being entirely operated by junior and high school 
children. We kids did every thing from arranging room use at the 
University to hosting speakers to editing and publishing a newsletter 
to collecting and recording observations. It was not the 'junior' 
section of a larger adult club or museum. 
    We worked with a separate club, Amateur Astronomers Association 
(AAA) which consisted almost wholly of grownups. Because these were 
the only two major astronomy resources in the City in the 1950s into 
the 1960s the two clubs coordinated many activities, like lecture 
schedules and field trips. 
    Alas, by 1968 the JAC dissolved under pressure of the Vietnam War 
and the need for its members to get into college for the draft 
deferment status. The AAA is still in business, altho its fortunes 
waxed and waned over the decades. 
Chasing the 1959 eclipse 
    In summer of 1959 members of both AAA and JAC were preparing for 
the 1959 October 2 solar eclipse. Four or five of us planned an 
expedition to watch it from Canarsie pier on the north shore of 
Jamaica Bay. This eclipse was the first eclipse I travelled away from 
home to view. 
    Others in the JAC and AAA journeyed to sites near Boston, where 
the eclipse was total just after sunrise. Others stayed at their homes 
all over the City or found nearby sites with a low sunrise horizon. 
    My parents weren't happy with me being out in the owl hours to get 
to Canarsie in time for sunrise! I teamed up with an other astronomer 
to come to my house and then the two of us went by bus to the pier. 
The other three boys went there separately. 
    I don't remember when we arrived at the pier. It was still night 
with a bit of dawn on the horizon. The sky was clear with the Orion 
group of stars in southeast. Venus, which I figured out later, was 
rising almost due east. 
    The air was cool yet not cold and I don't recall any significant 
breeze. While the sky was overall clear there was a band of shredded 
cloud along the east horizon. Later,a the next meetings of JAC and AAA 
I learned that this band was a cloud cover that blocked the eclipse 
for Long Island and New England observers.
    I never knew we could not get onto the pier. Maybe it was just too 
dark to see well enough to climb safely onto it. maybe it was fenced 
closed. We set up on the shore on the east side of the pier. We were 
comfortable in the brightening dawn. I had my fathr's camera, tripod, 
and binoculars. The others had cameras and binoculars, too, but not 
regular telescopes. 
    We could tell that the Sun would rise behind the band of clouds 
but could shine thru gaps in it. We did starspotting and waited. The 
ground was too wet from the Bay to sit, forcing us to stand around. 
    The Canarsie site looked over the Bay, over Idelwild (now JFK) 
airport and then over the Rockaways. all were low topography so the 
Sun would rise over an almost pure horizon. 
Eclipse circumstances 
    The eclipse was not total in the City. The centerline passed north 
thru Massachusetts. The middle of eclipse took place a minute or so 
before sunrise in the City. When the Sun rose, it would be 95% covered 
with the Moon sliding downward off of him. 
    The table here gives the segment of the eclipse path when the 
eclipse was visible in New York City. Hours are Universal Time in the 
'UT' column and Eastern Standard Time in the 'NYC' column. 
    'lat & long' is the location of the Moon's shadow; 'Alt Azim' is 
the altitude and azimuth of the Sun at the shadow location; Durt Magn' 
are the duration in minutes and magnitude in fraction of the total 
phase; 'Phs' is the phase, here 'tot' for total. 
    'NYC' and 'Magn' are the hour and magnitude seen from New York 
City. Note that before 06:56 EST the Sun didn't yet rise and after  
07:45 the Moon quit the Sun at fourth contact. 
 UT    Lat & Long     Alt Azim Durt Magn  Phs    NYC    Magn 
 ----- --  --------   -------- ---- ----  ----   ----   ----
 10:51  42.6  -72.1    0  95  0:57 1.02  tot*   -----  ----
 10:55  40.2  -51.3   17 109  1:25 1.02  tot    06:56  0.87 
 11:00  38.7  -43.6   24 116  1:39 1.02  tot    07:00  0.79 
 11:06  37.3  -38.0   29 120  1:50 1.03  tot    07:05  0.71 
 11:10  36.0  -33.7   34 125  1:59 1.03  tot    07:10  0.62 
 11:15  34.8  -30.0   38 128  2:08 1.03  tot    07:16  0.54 
 11:20  33.6  -26.8   41 132  2:16 1.03  tot    07:20  0.45 
 11:26  32.4  -23.9   44 136  2:23 1.03  tot    07:25  0.37 
 11:30  31.3  -21.4   47 139  2:29 1.03  tot    07:31  0.29 
 11:35  30.2  -19.1   50 143  2:35 1.03  tot    07:35  0.21 
 11:40  29.2  -16.9   53 147  2:41 1.03  tot    07:40  0.12 
 11:46  28.2  -14.9   55 151  2:45 1.03  tot    07:45  0.04 
 11:50  27.2  -13.0   57 156  2:50 1.03  tot    -----  ----
    As it happened, the greatest coverage of the Sun, about 94%, 
occurred with the Sun only a degree below the horizon! The Sun was 
still 87% covered at sunrise. That extra couple percent gave us in 
Canarsie a sight I never since heard any one else witness.                                                               
    The table is built from modern computer computations. In the 1950s 
the path was worked up from hand calculations and plots on paper maps. 
There were discrepancies among sources for the location of the extreme 
eastern, sunrise, end of the centerline was. Some had it at the east 
end of Massachusetts while others had it as far west as Hudson River 
in New York State. The latitude was also in question with some paths 
ending in Maine and others in Buzzards Bay or Rhode Island. 
    In all cases we in the City saw a very large partial eclipse whose 
maximum phase occurred only a minute or so before sunrise. 
Dawn reversed 
    Dawn progressed normally as the minutes ticked off toward sunrise. 
Then, a minute or so before sunrise the sky REVERSED BACK INTO 
DARKNESS! The twilight 'turned around' and went back to night! Not a 
full night but a darker twilight, with some stars returning to view 
after being masked by dawn a moment earlier. 
    We freaked out. We screamed and yelled and hollered! What's going 
on?!?! How can a natural effect like a dawn suddenly go backwards?!?! 
    Then, just as suddenly the awn came back, faster as if to 'catch 
up' for lost time and the Sun broke thru a gap in the clouds! We saw 
the deep incursion of the Moon in his face and got about taking 
pictures. I had black & white negative film in my father's camera, 
which he developed for me over the next weekend. A few pictures I 
asked one of the other astronomers to hold my binoculars in front of 
the camera for a magnified shot. 
    All pictures came out as well as can be expected under the 
makeshift conditions and our excitement. I still have them! They show 
the eclipsed Sun in the clouds. 
    At the time we didn't know how to explain the regression of the 
twilight before sunrise. At later meetings we figured out that the Sun 
was so deeply obscured by the Moon just before sunrise that the amount 
of sunlight filling the air physicly reduced. This reduction offset 
the natural increase from the Sun's approach to the horizon. With less 
sunlight to light up the sir, the dawn went dark. Only when the Sun 
got more exposed by the receding Moon did the dawn return to its 
normal state. 
Forgotten phaenomenon 
    We talked up our experience for several months and then moved 
along to other topics at the club meetings and external dialog. On & 
off over the years since then I did quick hunts for other observations 
of this twilight reversal effect with no luck.
    I suppose that at any eclipse when totality or a very large 
maximum covering is just before sunrise observes should see the 
regressed twilight. It could simply e that at later eclipses there 
were no cognizant observers posted just beyond the eastern end of the 
centerline. That point may always been in an inaccessible location or 
maybe observers avoided it for far better locations well inside the 
    I once considered that observers in New England and Long Island 
saw this effect. I never found anyone who positively recognized it. 
The weather over that region was fully cloudy or rainy. Any shift in 
sky brightness could be camouflaged by varying density or depth of 
cloud, as normally happens during any large storm. I also suspect that 
facing such adverse weather many observers turned back home without 
ever seeing any sky brightness effect.
    Now with the coming sunrise eclipse on 2013 November 3 can there 
be a possible repeat show? I don't think so. The Sun at maximum 
eclipse this time is too far below the horizon, during the deep 
twilight. And he is not all that much covered, only some 80%. maybe 
with good photometry a dawn reversal could be detected but probably ot 
by casual eye witness alone. 
    It may be possible from a ship positioned just on the east side of 
the centerline terminus but I know of no expedition, as at early 
October 2013, that's trying that observation. All land sites are too 
far west, like the City, for expect any discernible effect. 
    I'm now in a fresh round of inquiries. DId any one see the dawn 
reversal in the 1959 eclipse? If so, I want to know about it with some 
substantiation like notes or diary or articles at that time.
    By the geometry of the eclipse sightings could be feasible from 
almost the whole length of the Hudson River. The phaenomenon could 
have been stronger from the Albany area, where an actual totality 
occurred in the moment before sunrise. The complete shutoff of 
sunlight form the twilight could have made a full night sky 'flash' 
out and then a rushed return of dawn. 
Current eclipse 
    The eclipse of 2013 November 3 takes place at sunrise all over the 
City region. The table here gives the same items as the 1959 one:
 UT    Lat & Long     Alt Azim Durt Magn  Phs    NYC    Magn 
 ----- --  --------   -------- ---- ----  ----   ----   ----
 11:30  17.3  -37.9   38 126  0:51 1.01  tot    -----  ----
 11:35  16.0  -35.2   42 128  0:57 1.01  tot    07:35  0.51 
 11:40  14.7  -32.9   45 130  1:03 1.01  tot    07:40  0.44 
 11:45  13.5  -30.8   48 132  1:08 1.01  tot    07:45  0.37 
 11:50  12.4  -28.8   51 135  1:13 1.01  tot    07:50  0.30 
 11:55  11.4  -27.0   54 137  1:18 1.01  tot    07:55  0.23 
 12:00  10.4  -25.3   57 140  1:22 1.01  tot    08:00  0.16 
 12:05   9.5  -23.7   59 143  1:26 1.01  tot    08:05  0.08 
 12:10   8.6  -22.1   62 147  1:30 1.02  tot    08:10 <0.01 
 12:15   7.8  -20.6   64 151  1:33 1.02  tot    -----  ----
    The Moon is farther off of the Sun at sunrise than in 1959. The 
duration of this eclipse in the City is only some 40 minutes from 
sunrise to fourth contact. The NYC times are in EST. We leave EDST at 
02h on the 3rd, a few hours before the eclipse. 
    Please be warned that some solar eclipse simulators report this 
eclipse, and also the 159 one, is NOT visible from New York! They will 
NOT display any animation or timetable for it. This is a defect in the 
way the program screens eclipse by observer location. 
    Here is a timetable for this eclipse. The times are valid all over 
NYSkies but could differ by a minute or two from other sources. Again 
and again I remind, we are in Eastern Standard Time! 
        EST   | event         | alt-az | remarks 
        05:24 | nautical dawn | -- --- | end of full night 
        05:56 | civil dawn    | -- --- | start of day work 
        06:11 | Mercury rises | -- --- | azimuth 108 deg 
        06:13 | max from NYC  | -4 107 | below horizon 
        06:29 | Sun rises     | 00 109 | Moon on lower 1/2 of Sun 
        06:30 | Moon rises    | 00 109 | on lower 1/2 of Sun 
        06:38 | Saturn rises  | 01 111 | azimuth 108 deg 
        07:11 | 4th contact   | 06 115 | off lower edge of Sun 
        07:43 | max eclipse   | 12 122 | eclipse already over in NYC 
    'Max from NYC' is for the view from New York thru a transparent 
ground. This is the greatest coverage of the Sun when he is still 
below the horizon. 
Daylight Savings Time
    Let's get one crucial thing cleared up right now. The 2013 eclipse 
takes place under EASTERN STANDARD TIME in new York! Daylight savings 
time ENDS a few hours earlier, at 02h, on the very day of the eclipse! 
The rule now is that daylight savings time ends on the first Sunday of 
November and the 3rd, eclipse day, is that first Sunday. 
    You better MAKE SURE your clocks are set BACK one hour when you go 
to sleep on Saturday the 2nd. If for some reason you stay up all 
night, perhaps for other observing or preparation for the eclipse, 
you'll witness a weird event. The clock hour 01:00=01:59 REPEATS. It 
runs TWICE, first in daylight savings time and gain immediately after 
in standard time! You could be horribly disoriented by this effect. 
    Here's a timeline for the crossover from daylight savings to 
standard time on November 2-3. 
         --November 2-->|<--November 3-- - - - 
    EDST 22h----23h----00h----01h-----+ 02h EDST becomes 01h EST 
     EST                             01h----02h----03h--> to eclipse 
    The hour 02h EDST never hits! Instantly the clock is about to 
touch 02h, it snaps to 01h. The entire hour 01h-02h repeats. This 
situation causes havoc in calendars and other timekeeping operations.  
    New York City suffered Daylight Savings Time ever since it was 
resumed during World War II. Before 1967 each state, county, town made 
up its own rules for the start and end of daylight savings time. 
result of mindless confusion when crossing jurisdiction frontiers. 
Daylight Savings Time was an artificial feature, mutable at will by 
executive order or legislation in each jurisdiction. 
    Since the war New York started daylight savings time on the last 
Sunday of April and ended it on the last Sunday of September. In 1955 
it changed the rule to end on the last Sunday of October, 
    In New York the 1959 eclipse was under Eastern Daylight Savings 
Time, but in nearby towns it could be in Eastern Standard Time. 
    The cockamamie system of DST was 'fixed' in 1966 by federal 
regulation. Among other features, DST must start on the first Sunday 
of April while the end stayed on the last Sunday of October. In 2007 
the national rule was changed to the second Sunday of March and first 
Sunday of November. 
    For all serious astronomy we simply do not bother with DST. All 
times are in the standard time of the location or in Universal Time. 
Only when presenting schedules and timetables for general public 
enjoyment do we check for the local DST situation. 
    November can have cloudy sky, specially around the horizon. This 
happened in 1959, and we were damn lucky the clouds were shredded to 
let the Sun shine thru. The weather can be awful, with snow, cold 
rain, sleet, which will kill off any view of the eclipse. Dress in 
full winter outfit. Try to observe at a nearby indoor shelter, like a 
house or pavilion. 
Solar protection
    This eclipse requires full protection for solar viewing and a 
clear sightline to the east and southeast horizon. The latter can be 
critical being that skyline reduces both the duration and depth of 
coverage of the eclipse. 
    If you watched the 2004 and 2012 Venus transits with proper solar 
filters, they are the ones for this eclipse. Get the ready now. If you 
don't have eclipse-rated filters, GET THEM NOW!! 
    This eclipse is total in Africa with trips already in the mill for 
it. Supplies of filter may run out quickly as the eclipse approaches. 
    You need only low power to capture the full solar disc in the 
telescope field. There's nothing much more to see under high power. In 
case the Moon uncovers a sunspot or has a jagged limb, have a high 
power eyepiece to hand. 
Hybrid eclipse 
    This eclipse is a 'hybrid' eclipse, meaning that it is either 
total or annular, according as where you are  along the centerline. In 
a classical hybrid eclipse, in the middle of the shadow path, where 
the bulge of Earth brings you a bit closer to the Moon, the shadow 
reaches the ground. The Moon completely covers the Sun to make a total 
    Near the ends of the path the ground is farther away, by the round 
shape of the globe, and the shadow falls short. The Moon is angularly 
a bit smaller than the Sun and can not fully obscure him. She is 
silhouetted against the solar disc to make a ring or annular eclipse.
    This 2013 eclipse is a special case where the annular phase occurs 
only at the starting, sunrise, end of the centerline. For the rest of 
the path the eclipse is total. The Moon during her pass over the Earth 
is edging closer, enough to make the shadow reach the ground at the 
sunset end. She's approaching her perigee, coming on November 6. 
    The distance isn't all that much, only some 800 kilometers. In 
fact, this eclipse is just barely annular at the sunrise end, lasting 
only a few seconds because the Moon is only just barely too small to 
fit over the Sun. The table here from one eclipse path computation 
shows the situation at the two ends of the path. Computations near the 
ends of the shadow path are sensitive to minor differences in the 
input parameters of the eclipse. Take the figures here as 
representative of the behavior of this eclipse. 
 ANNULAR/TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE OF 2013 NOV 3, SAROS #143                    
 CENTRAL LINE             DELTA-T = 85.8 sec 
 U.T.      Longitd    Latitd     Durat  Altitd  Width Area 
 11:05:00  -71 10 56  +30 26 10  00:04  +00 00   4.2  0.9988 
 11:07:00  -60 02 53  +26 58 15  00:08  +10 45   7.3  1.0021 
 11:09:00  -55 50 37  +25 26 38  00:14  +15 14  11.9  1.0034 
 11:11:00  -52 45 55  +24 14 35  00:18  +18 40  15.4  1.0044 
 11:13:00  -50 15 51  +23 12 50  00:22  +21 35  18.4  1.0052 
 . . . . 
 14:21:00  +29 55 32  +02 12 23  00:25  +19 19  20.7  1.0058 
 14:23:00  +32 42 11  +02 49 06  00:20  +16 00  17.4  1.0049 
 14:25:00  +36 19 33  +03 40 18  00:15  +11 49  13.0  1.0037 
 14:27:00  +42 37 54  +05 16 27  00:06  +04 51   5.7  1.0016 
 14:27:25  +47 15 09  +06 31 05  00:01  +00 00   0.5  1.0002 
    For the first couple minutes right after sunrise the obscuration, 
5 of area covered, is less than one, even tho the Moon is centered on 
the Sun. We got an annular eclipse lasting only a few seconds. Then, 
as the ground curves toward the Moon, and the Moon descends toward 
Earth, the shadow touches down and the eclipse is total then after. It 
ends at local sunset as a vanishingly brief total. 
    I don't know of any expeditions to the sunrise end of the path to 
see the annular phase. If that's what you want to do, ask the trip 
operators for options. 
    One figure of merit for an eclipse is its magnitude. The greater 
this number, the more total is the eclipse. A value less than 1.00 
indicates a partial or annular eclipse. Sadly as it does happen, the 
explanation of this figure can be loused up badly. 
    The usual statement is that the magnitude of an eclipse is the 
fraction of the solar diameter overlapped by the Moon. By this rule 
all total eclipses have magnitude 1.00 because the entire diameter is 
obscured by the Moon. Yet total eclipses have magnitudes greater than 
one. An other says it's the ratio of Moon to Sun diameter. This makes 
a fixed magnitude thruout the eclipse, ignoring phase and parallax 
    Here's the proper way to calculate an eclipse magnitude. 
    (ecl magn) = (Srad + Mrad - sep) / (2 * Srad) 
    Srad and Mrad are the angular radius of the Sun and Moon. When 
diameter is given, take one half of it. Sep is the angular separation 
of Sun's and Moon's centers. 
    The magnitude in general tables of eclipses is stated for the 
geocentric observer. The figure given for a specific location on the 
Earth should consider the angularly larger Moon and the separation as 
modulated by parallax. 
    The magnitude is virtually always stated for the moment of maximum 
eclipse, when the separation of Sun and Moon is the least. As the Moon 
moves across the Sun the center-center separation varies to yield a 
continuous gradation of the magnitude number. 
    The largest value of magnitude for a set of radii is a center-
over-center crossing of Moon over Sun. The separation is zero and the 
formula reduces to (Srad + Mrad) / (2 * Srad). This gives the most 
overrun of the Moon on the Sun. 
    It's possible to have zero and negative magnitude. A zero value 
indicates a grazing partial eclipse. The Moon just kises the Sun at 
one exterior contact on the north or south solar limb. A negative 
value, which I hardly ever hear of, means the Moon misses the Sun and 
does a normal New Moon phase. There is no eclipse, 
    The table here gives the various scenarios of eclipse magnitude 
    magn    | scenarios 
      <0.00 + no eclipse, normal New Moon 
       0.00 | graze partial eclipse 
     <<1.00 | partial eclipse, Moon excentric from Sun 
      <1.00 | deep partial or annular eclipse
       1.00 + graze total eclipse
      >1.00 | normal total eclipse 
    A related figure is the obscuration of an eclipse. This is the 
fractional area of the solar disc covered by the Moon. It is sometimes 
found by squaring the magnitude but this is not the way of computing 
it.  You must go thru geometry of two overlapping discs of different 
diameters, for Sun and Moon, based on the data used for the magnitude. 
    Once the Moon is fully on the Sun, in an annular or total eclipse, 
the value of obscuration remains constant. It decreases when the Moon 
starts to quit the Sun, exposing more of his disc. 
    As the Moon crosses the Sun in an eclipse she touches the solar 
disc at several points of tangency, where the two discs meet at a 
point. From New York there is in the 2013 eclipse only one visible 
tangency of the two orbs. This is the 'fourth contact' mentioned a 
couple times above. 
    In an eclipse seen for its full duration there is a set of 
contacts for each kind of eclipse. For a total eclipse they are: 
        1st - first exterior tangency, eclipse begins 
        2nd - first interior tangency, totality begins 
        3rd - second interior tangency, totality ends 
        4th - second exterior tangency, eclipse ends 
    Interior tangency hs the two orbs overlapping, the one nested 
within the other. Exterior tangency hs the two orbs touched next to 
each other. The Moon is invisible in the daylight around the Sun. 
    In a partial eclipse there are no 2nd and 3rd contacts because 
there is no total phase: 
        1st - first exterior tangency, eclipse begins 
        4th - second exterior tangency, eclipse ends 
    For an annular eclipse the order of the contacts is shuffled 
because the Moon does not completely cover the Sun. The trailing edge 
of the Moon breaks onto the solar disc before the leading edge does. 
        1st - first exterior tangency, eclipse begins 
        3rd - second interior tangency, annularity begins
        2nd - first interior tangency, annularity ends 
        4th - second exterior tangency, eclipse ends 
Eclipse cycles 
    You know about the Saros interval between eclipses of a given 
series, 6585.32 days. This equals 18 Julian years plus 10.82 days. If 
you by mistake treat the years as ordinary calendar years, you find 
your self exactly 1/2 day too much. 18 Julian years includes 4.5 
leapdays. To keep matters simpler I here absorb that 0.5 day into the 
leftover days to make 10.32 days. The 1/3 day, 8 hours, spaces each 
eclipse 1/3 way round the world in longitude from the previous and 
following ones. 
    Due to our leapday system once in this cycle there is a shortfall 
of one day, which is then added in as an extra item. Yes, it is a 
nuisance to count up the leapdays four-by-four within a cycle. 
    Three Saros intervals, 54 Julian years and 30.96 days brings every 
third eclipse in the series to almost the same longitude, and about 
the same latitude!. The Greeks called it the exeligmos, having to do 
with a wheel's rotation. It's also the Triple Saros or Long Saros. 
    The eclipse of 2013 November 3 is in fact the next in the current 
exeligmos after the 1959 October 2! A global plot of the two eclipses 
are quite similar, including the location of the western end of the 
path near New York City. Both eclipse occur at sunrise in the City 
with maximum coverage shortly before then. 
 .  The maths are simple, stepping thru two intermediate eclipses 
which many astronomer remember observing. I write the month as a Roman 
number in the calculation here 
        1959  X  2.50  UT date of greatest eclipse 
         +18    10.32  first Saros interval 
                +0.00  no leapday 
       1977   X 12.82  1/3 way from 1959 
        +18     10.32  second Saros interval 
                +1.00  1 leapday 
       1995   x 24.14  2/3 way from 1959 
        +18     10.32  third Saros interval 
                +0.00  no leapday; year 2000 had a leapday 
       2013   X 34.46  3/3 way from, and return to, 1959 
       2013  XI  3.46  carry 31 days for October 
    I hope you remembered that year 2000 was a leapyear, yes? Else, 
you inserted it as a shortfall at the last addition and now you're one 
day too late in your calculation! 
    The last step is fiddly calendar maths. October has 31 days, which 
are collected into a carried month. This leaves 3.46 days in the next 
month as November 3rd.. 
    The Saros interval does NOT give the very next eclipse to occur! 
There are about 20 Saros series in progress in the decade 2010-2019, 
at each point of Moon-Sun-node intercept around the ecliptic. The 1959 
and 2013 eclipses are members of Saros series #143. The series are 
numbered from the first entry, an eclipse of 2000 BC, in Oppolzer's 
eclipse catalog 'Canon of eclipses'. 
    Series #143 began on 1617 March 7 with a partial eclipse at the 
north pole. The eclipses of 1959, 1977, 1995. 2013 in the calculation 
above are members #20 thru #23. The series ends with eclipse #71 on 
2861 April 12, a partial at the south pole. The far future dating 
assumes no further reform of the calendar system and ignores the 
secular deceleration of Earth rotation with its leapseconds. 
    Because the eclipses of Saros #143 migrate from north to south, 
they occur at the Moon's descending node. An ascending node series has 
eclipses starting at the south pole and sifting northward. 
Other eclipses 
    The previous solar eclipse over New York was on 2001 December 14. 
The Moon first touched the Sun, 1st contact, about ten minutes before 
sunset. She covered about 10% of the solar diameter at sunset. 
    The previous really good eclipse was on 2000 December 25, 
Christmas Day! It wa a partial eclipse with the Moon covering about 
1/2 of the south side of the Sun in afternoon. 
    The next solar eclipse for New York is on 2014 October 23, also 
near sunset. The Moon again covers only 10% of the Sun's diameter. 
    The next good eclipse after then is on 2017 August 21. The path of 
totality passes west to east across the United states, making it easy 
to go into the centerline from any where in the country. If you stay 
in the City, you see a 3/4 partial eclipse in afternoon. 
    For observers in the City there are three planets in the sky 
before dawn gets too bright. Mercury rises before the Sun but is lost 
in bright twilight or smothered in haze along the horizon. He is dim, 
only 4th magnitude, just coming out of inferior conjunction on 
November 1st and has almost his complete night side facing us. 
    Jupiter is in high south-southwest in dawn about 1/2 between 
Procyon and Pollux. He is a prime observing target among the winter 
    Mars is about 1/2 between Jupiter and the Sun in an equilateral 
triangle with Regulus and Alphard. Hw recently came out of superior 
conjunction and still has a tiny disc, making him a poor target for 
detailed study. 
    Saturn rises after sunrise, not observable so close to the horizon 
in daylight. He is +1/2 magnitude, heading toward superior conjunction 
on November 19th. 
    If you are heading into the path ot totality, you should try to 
spot the planets in the eclipse sky. Totality lasts only 1-1/2 
minutes! You better study starcharts carefully to quickly look in the 
proper direction without wasting precise time. 
    Mercury and Saturn flank the Sun for observers under totality. 
Mercury is too faint for even the dark sky of totality. In my 
experience stars to only 1-1/2 magnitude are the faintest to shine 
thru an eclipse sky. 
    Mars is likely at the utter limit of detection under an eclipse 
sky from his pink tint and +1-1/2 magnitude. Jupiter, much brighter 
than the other planets, should come into view easily. 
New York City Marathon
    November 3es is the day of the New York City Marathon! If you're 
up and about for the eclipse you may go to a nearby point on the 
marathon route and cheer the runners. The first wave of runners steps 
off at 08:35 EST from near Fort Wadsworth, Staten Island. Following 
waves step off thru 10:15. 
    Depending on where you are for the eclipse you may be near enough 
to the route to watch the runners pass thru. Eclipses sites on the 
waterfront of manhattan's Upper East Side and South Bronx are a short 
walk to the marathon route. 
    Do understand well that in the owl thru afternoon hours there will 
be massive disruption of road and foot traffic along the marathon 
route. Buses will be diverted and streets will be closed. Learn the 
status of traffic changes near your eclipse site BEFORE heading to it. 
Investigate sites away, more than 500 meters, from the route. 
    Some astronomers in the City suggested to hold an eclipse session 
for the marathon contestants and crew. This could be at Fort 
Wadsworth, where the marathon is assembled with a prospect east and 
south across New York harbor. The idea was dropped after recognizing 
the extreme busyness of the marathon folk in the hours before the 
race. For all practical purposes, no one in the New York City Marathon 
will witness this eclipse, even if any learned of it before the race. 
Government factors 
    November 5th, Tuesday, is the general election of mayor of New 
York! While there is no specific event on eclipse day you may expect 
the candidates to stage rallies here and there. Besides the mayor 
contest, there are many boro and lesser citywide offices up for 
    As at mid October there still is a partial closure of the US 
Federal government. Spending authority ran out on September 30th with 
no movement toward resolving the funding crisis. 
    If you were figuring to avail of federal property, like Gateway 
national Park or a military base, please ask for its operation status. 
It could be closed from public use, altho certain internal functions 
may continue. It's probably best, unless the shutdown is broken real 
soon, to set aside federal properties from possible eclipse viewing 
    Facilities dependent on federal funding could be compromised. Ask 
for their status. Even after the government gets into gear, it may 
take weeks or months for these collateral properties to start normal 
    Due to the awkward hour, assuming the facility is open for you, 
there could be extra redtape to go thru and tighter personal checks 
before entering the facility. 
    The eclipse of 2013 November 3 is far more than just the next 
eclipse in the stream of astronomy events in the City. It, for the 
elders among us, a physical and emotional bond to the past. Many of us 
as kids watched the previous eclipse in the current exeligmos in 1959. 
We wondered what it would be like far off in the 21st century. This 
was when no one was thinking of a time that deep in the future. The 
Y2K syndrome was unimaginable. 
    The whole idea of computers was still very new. Only the largest 
corporations and universities had them. Information was coded into 
punchcards one at a time. It was totally sci-fi that eventually we can 
have a gadget orders more powerful than those machines, simpler to 
use, as cheap as a transistor radio, and fit in your pocket! and it 
replaces the telephone, library, and postal service! 
    Going to other planets was a dream for the next century. Maybe by 
2000 we'll travel to the Moon. Robotic devices were monsters in the 
movies, not orbiters of Saturn or rovers on Mars. Mars was criss-
crossed by canals built to conserve the polar waters. The Moon's 
surface was a mystery, being either solid rock or deep dust. 
    Astronomy was done by hand with printed maths tables and charts and 
monograms. Calculators of the day were electric desktop machines found 
only in some business office and school labs. Pocket calculettes were 
a fantasy of the future. Starmaps and forms were duplicated by carbon 
paper, with photocopiers still rare in printing shops. Club 
litterature was produced by mimeograph. 
    Rapid astronomy news, like for novae and comets, was issued by 
real telegrams. Colleague astronomers who received the made a round of 
telephone calls to us others to recite the news. To call an out-f-of-
town observatory for information, the telephone company agent had to 
connect you thru. Printed material, like booklets, news items, maps, 
computer printouts, were sent by postal mail. 
    How weird it seems today while watching this eclipse to reflect on 
those ancient days! That's one of the awesome joys of astronomy. The 
heavens span the ages.