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Meet Mr. Eclipse

Updated: Mar 26

Learn more about Fred Espenak:

Fred Espenak (often referred to as Mr. Eclipse) has traveled around the world to witness 30 Total Solar Eclipses. He is a retired (emeritus) American astrophysicist, has worked at the Goddard Space Flight Center and is best known for his work on eclipse predictions.

Check out Mr. Eclipse's website Eclipsewise to learn about:
  • Solar Eclipses for Beginners: Need a quick introduction to the basics of Solar Eclipses? Fred Espenak (Mr. Eclipse), shares the What, When, Where, and Why to the grandest of celestial events.

  • Experiencing Totality: During the brief total phase of a total eclipse of the Sun (the period known as Totality), the Moon completely blocks the Sun’s brilliant face. You are suddenly plunged into an eerie twilight and the Sun's glorious corona is revealed for all to see. It has been said that a total eclipse of the Sun is "the most spectacular astronomical event visible with the naked eye." What is it like to witness this event? Read Experiencing Totality to find out.

More About Fred Espenak:

Fred was the co-investigator of an atmospheric experiment flown on Space Shuttle Discovery and also gives public lectures on eclipses and astrophotophy. His astronomical photographs have been published in numerous publications including National Geographic, Newsweek, and Nature.

Fred became interested in astronomy as a 7–8-year-old and had his first telescope when he was around 9–10 years old. He earned a bachelor's degree in physics from Wagner College, Staten Island, where he worked in the planetarium. His master's degree is from the University of Toledo, based on studies he did at Kitt Peak Observatory.

Espenak was employed at Goddard Space Flight Center, where he used infrared spectrometers to measure the atmospheres of planets in the Solar System. He provided NASA's eclipse bulletins since 1978 and is the author of several canonical works on eclipse predictions, such as the Fifty Year Canon of Solar Eclipses: 1986–2035 and Fifty Year Canon of Lunar Eclipses: 1986–2035, both of which are standard references on eclipses. The first eclipse he saw was the solar eclipse of March 7, 1970, which sparked his interest in eclipses, and he has since seen over 20 eclipses.

Together with Jean Meeus, he published the Five Millennium Canon of Solar Eclipses in 2006, which covers all types of solar eclipses (partial, total, annular, or hybrid) from 2000 BCE to AD 3000, and the Five Millennium Canon of Lunar Eclipses in 2009, which lists all lunar eclipses (penumbral, partial, or total) in that time span. Later, he published the more compact Thousand Year Canon of Lunar Eclipses 1501 to 2500, the Thousand Year Canon of Solar Eclipses 1501 to 2500, and the 21st Century Canon of Solar Eclipses. He is also a co-author (with Mark Littmann and Ken Willcoxof) of Totality: Eclipses of the Sun.

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