Predict Solar Eclipses with Wolfram on Raspberry Pi

Wolfram Research shows how the Wolfram language, used on a Raspberry Pi or RBPi, can help visualize solar eclipses. With this combination, you can view past and present solar eclipses. The most astounding aspect is the solar eclipses you visualize can be not only total or partial, but also as if seen from Earth, Mars or Jupiter.

Depending on your present geographical location, you may or may not be able to witness a solar eclipse. To recapitulate, solar eclipses are events where the Moon blots out the Sun to observers on the Earth. The Moon may be so positioned it blocks out the entire Sun or a part of it. If the Moon blocks out a part of the Sun, the incident is termed a partial eclipse. In a total eclipse, an observer on the Earth will only see the corona of the Sun as a halo around the Moon as it covers the Sun entirely.

By mathematically tracking heavenly bodies, it is possible to predict when a solar eclipse is likely, if it will be visible from a specific location and whether it will be partial or total. Usually, the media drums up a small hype of the event, predicting local weather conditions, telling people how and when to observe the eclipse while including other relevant details. However, this is only if the eclipse is visible in your area.

For people on the Wolfram Community, geographical hurdles do not exist. Novices, experienced users and developers from all over the world share data and knowledge. The Community discusses the latest solar eclipse with anticipation, observation and data analysis. They also participate in the computations for future and extraterrestrial eclipses.

For example, consider the total solar eclipse that occurred on March 20, 2015. Before the event, Jeff Bryant and Fransisco Rodriguez from Wolfram explained how the community could compute the geographical locations from where the eclipse would be totally or partially visible. Fransisco used GeoEntities to highlight with green those countries that would witness at least partial solar eclipse on the date.

Although they predicted the visibility of the solar eclipse, neither Jeff or Fransisco was able to see even the partial solar eclipse, as the former is in the US and the latter in Peru. In their prediction, the intense red area shows the regions from where the total eclipse would be visible, while the lighter red areas depict regions of visibility of the partial eclipse. Another total solar eclipse is predicted in the next decade, of which, at least a partial phase will be visible from almost all countries of the world.

Wolfram now has a new language function, the TimeLinePlot. This is a great way to visualize a chronological event such as a solar eclipse. With TimeLinePlot, you can specify the last few years and the next few years to plot territories and countries from where a total solar eclipse will be visible. TimeLinePlot complies with ISO 3166-1 when depicting territories and countries. Using the incredible powers of computational info-graphics, Wolfram predicts a spectacular total solar eclipse spanning the US from coast to coast on August 21, 2017.