Solar Eclipse this weekend!May 17th, 2012 at 11:36 am by David Mazza under Weather
This weekend we will get a partial view of a solar eclipse here in Central Texas. On Sunday late afternoon/evening the Moon will pass between the Sun and the Earth. The Annular Solar Eclipse will occur in a small corridor from Asia, through the Northern Pacific, and into the Western United States. The area that will see the best Eclipse will be in Eastern Asia, and then over parts of the Pacific Ocean. It will still be possible to see part of the eclipse in our area, according to tables from the NASA website, the start will be around 7:35pm on Sunday, and will end at sunset. According to the site, the peak will occur at sunset, and because of the angle, there might be some oval shaping to the shadow the Moon will cast onto the Sun. If you were looking to see the full ring of the Eclipse, spots between Lubbock over to Santa Fe will have the best chances near-by. In Lubbock the start will occur at 7:31pm local time, with a max eclipse at 8:36pm lasting 4min 13 seconds. In Santa Fe, the eclipse will start at 6:28pm local time, with a max peak at 7:35pm lasting for 3min and 33 seconds. This means that in both Lubbock, and Santa Fe, you will be able to see the ring of sunlight around the moon at the peak, and then as the moon is moving “through” the sun, the sun will set, so you will not see complete separation of the two before the sun goes down.
Below is an image of the track of the eclipse on the Earth (thanks to NASA GSFC for the image)
Anytime you want to view a solar eclipse, partial, total, whatever, you do NOT want to look directly at it. While the sun might not seem as bright due to a large amount of it being covered, the exposed part is just as strong. However, it appears much easier to stare as the sun, and this can cause damage to your vision if you aren’t viewing it with the proper protection. An easy way to look other than watching the newscast Sunday night at 10pm, when we show pictures and videos of the event, is to make a crude viewing device. One way it so take a sheet of paper, poke a round hole in it, and keep it a few feet from the ground. The sun will shine through the hole, and you should be able to see the eclipse in the shadow on the ground. You can almost make an eclipse box. You take a big enough box (if you want to have your head it in make sure its big enough to fit your head without blocking the sunlight passing through). On one side of the box, poke a round hole in it. You can use a pen or pencil for this. Aim this part of the box up at the sun, and look at the inside opposite side of the box. Before the eclipse you will see the small dot of the sun. During the eclipse you will see that dot having a shadow (from the moon) blocking part of the bright dot. Whatever you chose to do, make sure to use lots of caution, do not stand near a street or somewhere you can get hurt wearing a box on your head.
Below is a picture of how easy it was to make my Solar Eclipse box, and the other shows what is might look like inside the box. I used a studio light in place of the sun, but you get the idea. The best part of the box is it can be reused for future eclipse events, or if you chose so, you can recycle it! :)