Since 2011 our observatory is a member of
GLORIA (GLObal Robotic telescopes
Intelligent Array for e-Science) project - wide international collaboration
of 13 scientific institutions from 8 countries aiming at opening public
access to robotic telescopes, as well as propagating astronomy in general.
In particular, members of the project regularly organize events dedicated
to various interesting astronomical phenomena and events - solar and lunar
eclipses, transit of Venus, etc.
Contact - Karpov S.
On November 3rd a team of astronomers will venture deep into Turkana
National Park, Kenya and attempt to broadcast the magic of a total solar
eclipse to the world. They are part of the GLORIA project, which aims
to bring the thrill of realscience to people all over the world, via the web.
Turkana lake and national park in Kenya is a unique location in several
ways - a stopping point for migratory birds, home to unique fossils and
a UNESCO World Heritage site, it is also known as "the cradle of humankind".
On November 3rd 2013, Turkana lake will also become the location for the
second GLORIA live solar eclipse broadcast (and the first one is described
Why have GLORIA astronomers chosen such an isolated location to make this
broadcast? Dr. Miquel Serra-Ricart, expedition leader, explains:
"This is a very tricky eclipse to observe, only making landfall across
central Africa". In choosing the right spot, he has had to consider not
only the visibility of the eclipse, but also the likely weather conditions,
availability of water, food and navigable roads and, of course, the safety
of his team. This will be Miquel's 3rd eclipse expedition to the African
continent. In 2001 he experienced the amazing silencing of the noisy jungle
during the 2 minutes of totality in northern Zimbabwe. "During an eclipse
animals lie down to sleep, as if night has fallen. So we need to be sure
we stay out of the way of the big predators, such as lions", says Miquel.
He expects this to be a particularly memorable eclipse as the sun is
currently at the maximum of its 11 year cycle, remarking: "We expect
a beautiful and symmetric corona this time".
Totality will last only 15 seconds, so the planning has to be just right.
GLORIA project scientist, Prof. Alberto Castro-Tirado, is confident,
saying "The team has a lot of expertise in doing these broadcasts.
Although the location is very challenging, and the eclipse is very short,
our many viewers on-line will be able to enjoy the eclipse experience from
the comfort of their own homes". In addition the team will carry a
sophisticated weather station in order to gather valuable data to be
used for educational activities.
A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth, and
the Moon fully or partially blocks the Sun from our view. This can happen
only at New Moon and if the Sun and the Moon are perfectly aligned as seen
from Earth. In a total solar eclipse, the disk of the Sun is fully obscured
by the Moon. In partial and annular eclipses only part of the Sun is obscured.
The first total solar eclipse for a year, this one is a so-called "hybrid"
solar eclipse, meaning that in some places along the eclipse track an
"annular" eclipse will occur, where the outer disk of the Sun remains
visible, while in other areas a total eclipse will be observed. It will
be observable as a partial eclipse from southern Europe. The maximum
occultation occurs around 12:30 in Sevilla, 12:50 in Barcelona, 13:20
in Catania (Italy), 13:40 in Chania (Greece). The total duration of the
eclipse is 2h 14m (17:13-19:27 MSK) with totality from Turkana
lake broadcast at
between 18:20 and 18:30 MSK.
It is vital never to look at the Sun without safe glasses designed
specifically for solar viewing. During all observations of a solar eclipse,
except for the few moments of totality, adequate eye protection must
For more information on the live broadcast timings and other GLORIA
activities please go to
A collection of images from the past expeditions is available at:
GLORIA is a three-year project
financed by the Seventh Framework Program of the European Union
(FP7/2007-2012) under agreement number 283783. The project, started
in October 2011, involves 13 institutions from 8 countries. Please
GLORIA stands for "GLObal Robotic-telescopes Intelligent Array". GLORIA
will be the first free and open- access network of robotic telescopes
in the world. It will be a Web 2.0 environment where users can do research
in astronomy by observing with robotic telescopes, and/or by analysing
data that other users have acquired with GLORIA,