Sun May 20, 2012

Partial Solar Eclipse Viewable Sunday From Colorado

A partial solar eclipse will be viewable today in our state and others west of Colorado. This is the first eclipse Coloradans have seen in about 15 years.

The moon will begin to move in front of the sun at about 6:22 this evening. The maximum of the eclipse will occur around 7:30 and then the sun will set behind the Rocky Mountains about 10 to 15 minutes later.

In all, the eclipse will be viewable for about an hour this evening from Colorado. The sky won't get completely dark like it does during a total eclipse since the moon will only be covering about 86% percent of the sun.

Matt Benjamin with Fiske Planetarium in Boulder says he recommends purchasing a pair of eclipse watching glasses for the event.

"Eclipse glasses block out all the light from the sun. We've always heard don't look directly at the sun and there's good reason for that. But eclipse glasses allow you to have a long duration stare at the sun without your eyes squinting or watering."

Eclipse watching hlasses are available for purchase from Fiske Planetarium or McGuckin Hardware stores.

But, Benjamin says there are other ways to watch the eclipse indirectly. He suggests creating a pinhole camera by puncturing a hole in a piece of paper or cardboard box.

"Hold it toward the sun and you can then project through that hole an image of the sun. What's nice is as the moon is blocking it you'll be able to see this black disk move across the image of the sun you project."

The University of Colorado Boulder is hosting a solar eclipse watch party this evening from 6:00 to 8:15 at Folsom Stadium on campus. They will be selling eclipse watching glasses at the door.

The next solar eclipse is scheduled for August of 2017. That total eclipse will be viewable across the entire United States. 

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