Observing stars

Variable star

Variable star enthusiasts may wish to check on the brighter irregular or eruptive stars on their programs. Certainly, any novae discovered shortly before becoming lost in the sun’s glare would warrant examination during totality.



Faintest star

One project which relates to the sky’s overall darkness during totality is to determine what the faintest star visible to the unaided eye is. This may also be attempted using binoculars and telescopes of various apertures. The best approach is to select a star which you know will be bright enough to locate easily and which also is surrounded by fainter stars offering a broad range of magnitudes. Different observers might focus on several different star fields at increasing distances from the eclipsed sun to determine how sky darkness varies as the shadow’s edge is approached. Observers who have not dark—adapted at least one eye in advance should not expect their faintest star observations to have any value.