Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Solar Symbology

an animated US map of the April 8th solar eclipse
The one thing that you are guaranteed to see before a solar eclipse is lots of maps. With just over a month to go before April 8th's total solar eclipse new solar eclipse maps are being released almost daily. 

The Spanish Language television network Univision has released an interactive map which is very similar to the Bloomberg eclipse map (see below) but is even better. Like Bloomerg's map the Univision 2024 Total Solar Eclipse map uses solar symbols to show how much of the sun will be obscured according to both time and location.

As you can see in the animated screenshot above the map uses animated solar symbols to show the sun's obscuration by time for different locations across the United States and Mexico. The Univision map improves on the similar Bloomberg visualization by including a timeline control. The Bloomberg map automatically animates through the April 8th solar eclipse. The simple addition of a time slider control on the Univision map means that users can select to view the extent of the eclipse at any time for themselves.
a solar eclipse map with small sun symbols showing the extent of the eclipse visible across the US

Over on the Esri blog Kenneth Field has introduced his new Total Eclipse map. Kenneth's map uses small symbols to visualize the extent of the eclipse possible at different locations across the United States. Each symbol on the map shows the 'the moon’s position at the time of maximum obscuration' providing a fantastic visualization of the extent of the eclipse visible across the whole country. The map also includes a dark band which shows the path of totality across the US.

animated US map showing the extent of the solar eclipse visible at different locations
Bloomberg's How to Find the Best Cities to Watch the Solar Eclipse also uses solar symbols to visualize the extent of the eclipse visible at different locations. On this map the symbols are actually animated to show the passage of the moon across the sun as seen from different cities in North America.

The Bloomberg article also includes a drop-down menu which allows you to select a city to view an animation simulation of the moon's obscuration of the sun at that location on a larger scale. Other maps show the degree of obscuration visible across North America and the possibility of cloud cover at different locations.

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