CWU News

CWU Professor Illuminates the Eclipse

We sat down with Professor Bruce Palmquist, who teaches both physics and astronomy at Central Washington University, to learn more about the upcoming solar eclipse. Palmquist reported, “There are two types of eclipses, lunar and solar. Both happen two times a year. They aren’t always total, and they aren’t always over the same space.”

He used an example that the moon is orbiting around the edge of a plate. The Earth is at the center of that plate. That plate is tipped compared to the angle of the plate that has the Earth orbiting the sun. The Earth plate “wobbles,” which takes about 19 years to go all the way up and back down, which is why the eclipses aren’t in the same places every year. Because of the variation, there are also eclipse “seasons” which change slightly year to year, about half a month. That means sometimes there could be three eclipses in a year.

Read more of this story in the Advocate Tribune.

Photo of white light corona courtesy of NASA