Thursday, May 17, 2012

Solar Eclipse this Sunday!

If you live in the western US (or Japan or China) you are in for a treat this Sunday (May 20th): there is going to be a solar eclipse! This eclipse is actually what is known as an annular eclipse due to the fact that the outer edge of the Sun will remain visible throughout the eclipse. Due to the geometry of the eclipse, some locations will observe a partial eclipse, while others will be lucky enough to see the complete annular eclipse. Sadly, those of us on the east coast will not be able to see the eclipse at all as sunset occurs before the eclipse starts. The following clip explains a lot more details about this Sunday's event:

This should make for a truly stunning sight! Do remember that even with the Moon blocking most of the Sun's disk, the remaining light it still very intense and you should *never* look directly at the Sun without proper solar viewing glasses/telescope filters. If you find yourself without proper viewing devices you can always watch a projection of the Sun during the eclipse. A few small holes in a piece of cardboard will do the trick to watch 'many eclipses' projected on the ground, as will watching the light and shadows cast through tree branches!

The following website has viewing information for all states where the eclipse will be visible before the Sun sets: 

Now go outside and enjoy the show this Sunday! 

Photo Credit: Dennis Mammana (1992)
Astronomy Picture of the Day:



  1. Another great and very detailed article can be found online at Sky and Telescope:

  2. One last link on how to set up a very easy projection of the eclipse:


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