May 20th – Solar Eclipse Visible Out West

sun- Annular eclipse. Photo courtesy National Park
Annular eclipse. Photo courtesy National Park

On May 20th, a annular solar eclipse will be visible in the western sky. As the Moon passes between Earth and the Sun, the moon will block out most of the Sun, leaving a ring of visible light around its edges. This ring of light is often referred to as a “ring of fire”.

The moon will block out 94% of the sun’s light.

Who can see this eclipse? You lucky folks west of the Mississippi River in North America. The eclipse will also be visible in Asia and the Pacific region.

The eclipse will start in the afternoon and early evening on May 20th for North America and May 21 for Asia and the Pacific region. For us on the east coast of the United Sates and Canada we won’t see it.

Remember – Never look directly at the sun with the naked eye, a telescope or binoculars. Use the proper filters and take safety precautions.

“It is never safe to look at a partial or annular eclipse, or the partial phases of a total solar eclipse, without the proper equipment and techniques.  from NASA’s website.

“The safest and most inexpensive method is by projection. A pinhole or small opening is used to form an image of the Sun on a screen placed about a meter behind the opening. Multiple openings in perfboard, in a loosely woven straw hat, or even between interlaced fingers can be used to cast a pattern of solar images on a screen. A similar effect is seen on the ground below a broad-leafed tree: the many “pinholes” formed by overlapping leaves creates hundreds of crescent-shaped images. Binoculars or a small telescope mounted on a tripod can also be used to project a magnified image of the Sun onto a white card. All of these methods can be used to provide a safe view of the partial phases of an eclipse to a group of observers, but care must be taken to ensure that no one looks through the device. The main advantage of the projection methods is that nobody is looking directly at the Sun. The disadvantage of the pinhole method is that the screen must be placed at least a meter behind the opening to get a solar image that is large enough to see easily.” from NASA website.

NASA has an eclipse information on its website.

Past Post

Naturalist News  Spring 2012



One comment

  1. Wow, really? Maybe I’ll get to see it! I’ll have to get my bins rigged up into a pinhole projector–I’ll bet my brothers will like this. Thanks for sharing!

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