Fred Espenak

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Fred Espenak
Fred Espenak in 2017
Fred Espenak in 2017
Years active1978–2009[1]

Fred Espenak (born 1953[citation needed]) is a retired[1] emeritus[2] American astrophysicist. He worked at the Goddard Space Flight Center. He is best known for his work on eclipse predictions.[3]

He became interested in astronomy when he was 7–8 years old, and had his first telescope when he was around 9–10 years old.[1] Espenak 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 of eruptive and flare stars among red dwarfs.[citation needed]

Espenak with his solar telescope

He was employed at Goddard Space Flight Center, where he used infrared spectrometers to measure the atmosphere of planets in the Solar System.[3] He provided NASA's eclipse bulletins since 1978. He 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,[1] both of which are standard references on eclipses.[3] The first eclipse he saw was the solar eclipse of March 7, 1970, which sparked his interest in eclipses,[3] and he has since seen over 20 eclipses.[1] He is co-author with Jean Meeus of Five Millennium Canon of Solar Eclipses, which covers all types of solar eclipses (partial, total, annular, or hybrid) from 2000 BCE to AD 3000.[4] He is also a co-author (with Mark Littmann and Ken Willcoxof) of Totality: Eclipses of the Sun.[3]

He was the co-investigator of an atmospheric experiment flown on Space Shuttle Discovery.[5]

He is also known as "Mr. Eclipse."[6] He gives public lectures on eclipses and astrophotophy. Astronomical photographs taken by Espenak have been published in National Geographic, Newsweek, Nature, New Scientist, and Ciel et Espace [fr] magazines.[3]

He retired in 2009.[1] Asteroid 14120 Espenak was named in his honor in 2003.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "NASA's 'Mr. Eclipse' Retires but Still Chasing Shadows". NASA. 20 September 2009. Retrieved 22 March 2015.
  2. ^ "Bio – Fred Espenak". Retrieved 22 March 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "TWAN Bio for Fred Espenak". Retrieved 22 March 2015.
  4. ^ "Five Millennium Canon of Solar Eclipses: -1999 to +3000". Retrieved 22 March 2015.
  5. ^ "Fred Espenak". Retrieved 22 March 2015.
  6. ^ "Mr Eclipse". Retrieved 22 March 2015.

External links[edit]