Skip to comments.May 20 will feature 'best solar eclipse the U.S. has seen' in decade
Posted on 04/28/2012 10:49:51 PM PDT by nickcarraway
The sun is the epitome of contrast: When the sun rises or sets, it's the "difference between night and day."
Night is banished at daybreak and re-established soon after the sun sets.
At least, that's usually the case.
Every 18 months or so and always on a new moon, there is somewhere on the planet where the sun becomes totally eclipsed when the moon passes between the sun and the Earth. There can be multiple, up to five, solar eclipses in a year -- though a total eclipse only recurs on any specific point on Earth every 360 or 410 years.
Witnessing a partial eclipse is more common, however, because, while the area of the shadow during a total eclipse (the umbra) is anywhere from 62 to 99 miles wide, the larger light gray area in which a partial eclipse can be seen (penumbral diameter) is in excess of 4,000 miles.
From 6:22 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. May 20, the entire state of Colorado will experience a partial solar eclipse in the western sky. The contrast between the amount of afternoon sun shining before the eclipse and at its maximum is startling.
"It will be the best solar eclipse the U.S. has seen in more than 10 years," said Doug Duncan, director of Fiske Planetarium.
Folsom Field at the University of Colorado will be open from 6 to 8:15 p.m. for viewing, which costs $2 including eclipse-watching glasses. Admission is free for Boulder Valley School District students who have received donated glasses from Impact on Education, the Jared Polis Foundation and McGuckin Hardware; and for those who have purchased viewing glasses from McGuckin or Fiske Planetarium.
"The big point is to get people to prepare ahead, to get their glasses from McGuckin or Fiske," Duncan said. "I've been to 12 eclipses, and always most people wait until the day before, or even the day of, an eclipse to prepare."
This image of a partial solar eclipse in space, seen in extreme ultraviolet light wavelengths, was taken by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory in February. (NASA) Being ill-equipped is frustrating for event organizers as well as participants, he said. Keeping in mind the great danger of looking at the sun for too long, remember that one can't watch if one can't see.
Visit eclipse-watch.com for more on preparations.
Of course, even the sun doesn't hold a monopoly over the dramatic. Skywatchers will have undoubtedly noticed that Venus is exceptionally dazzling. That's because Venus is best positioned to display its largest area of sunlit surface possible.
The moon is full at 9:35 p.m. May 5 and is called the Full Flower or Full Milk Moon.
Seeing a partial solar eclipse is like going to the prom with your sister.
That depends on the depth of the totality. If 90% or better, its still awesome! Have experienced it.
Sure she has a blouse full of goodies but its just wrong
Cool, our 37th wedding anniversary!
And on June 5th, Venus will transit the Sun. You can observe it if you have a telescope fitted with a solar filter.
More info here:
Actual pics from the 2004 Venus Sun transit:
I’m gonna watch it with one of those cardboard box with a pinhole thingys.
Spent the day at the Mt Wilson Observatory - got to see the 60 inch and hundred inch telescopes, and spent a good long time in the 150 foot solar observatory. It gets me sometimes how little of the technology has changed in the last 20 years. And just like a hundred years ago, they start each day with a manual drawing of sunspot activity.
Oh, and the normal climate change dogma is of course alive and well among the uninformed, including NOAA gear to measure greenhouse gases.
Amusing point was his describing a bit of frustration he was having this morning - he thought a squirrel or other critter had climbed up into the observatory dome and was playing with the mirror, as the sun was shaking has he was making his morning plots. He had the radio on, and heard (after coming back down from taking the cage up into the dome) that there was a minor earthquake on the San Andreas fault system, and he inadvertently discovered just how great a seismograph a 150 ft long shaft of light can be.
“And on June 5th, Venus will transit the Sun. You can observe it if you have a telescope fitted with a solar filter.”
This is very rare, and this is the last one anyone reading this is probably going to have an opportunity to see.
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Without a doubt. It happens in pairs every 100 years or so, separated by 8 years. The last one was in 2004. The next, just over 100 years from now.
“The next transit of Venus will occur on June 56 in 2012, succeeding the previous transit on June 8, 2004. After 2012, the next transits of Venus will be in December 2117 and December 2125.”
“... and always on a new moon ... “
Nice job there, genius author.
My guess is that you haven't really seen a total solar eclipse then. There is no comparison between any partial eclipse and a total eclipse where the sun's corona becomes visible. None! As far as I'm concerned 99.9% is pretty close to zero as far as eclipses go. I suppose it's mildly interesting the first two of three times you experience it, but that's it, for me anyway. At 90%, most people wouldn't even know there was an eclipse occurring if they hadn't been told of it beforehand. Maybe at 95% the animals start to notice that something strange is happening, but it's really no darker than on a cloudy day, and you certainly cannot look directly at the sun even a second before or after totality. During totality, the sun (or it's corona really) gives off about as much light as a full moon; and anyone who wants to take pictures of the total eclipse is advised to practice on the full moon two weeks before the eclipse. (But don't try to take pictures before or after totality without a solar filter as it will likely destroy your camera.)
I just went to look up this eclipse, and it isn’t even a total eclipse. It is an “annular” eclipse which means that the moon is sufficiently far away from the earth that it’s apparent disc size viewed from the earth is smaller than that of the sun. At maximum eclipse the sun will appear as a ring of light. There will be no solar corona. There will be NO time when one can safely look directly at the sun, and NO time when it is advisable to take photographs without a filter. There will be NO time with this eclipse when the sun’s brightness dips to that of a full moon.
This is a braindead comment.
Venus appears least bright when we are able to see the largest area of its sunlit surface. This is because Venus's orbit is inside the earth's orbit. When Venus is closest to us, 25 million miles I'm guessing, we cannot see it at all because it presents its dark side to earth viewers (and also it is too close to the sun to be seen). When it is furthest away (guess 160 million miles) it presents it's sunlit surface to us (but the sun is also in the way then). Because brightness falls off as the square of distance (twice as far away, one quarter the brightness) Venus is actually brightest here when we can see it as only a brightly lit crescent.
Its donuts if the eclipse is annular.
Cool! I’ve never seen an annular eclipse except in photos.
LOL! Thousands of little doughnuts, send me right off my diet, it would!
Oh gee, “doughnuts.” Well, I’m old...
Anyone interested in a meetup at the Sundial Bridge in Redding, CA this coming Sunday (May 20, 2012) for the eclipse between 5 and 7 pm?
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