Partial eclipse of the sun Sunday, May 20
by Bob Rule, KPIN 101.1FM Radio
May 20, 2012
Late in the day on Sunday, May 20th, those living in the mid and western portions of the United States will be able to observe a partial eclipse of the sun. Sunday's solar eclipse will not be total in any location, because at this point in time, the apparent size of the moon is slight smaller than the apparent size of the sun, meaning the moon cannot completely cover the sun.
In Sublette County, the eclipse can be viewed late in the afternoon and early in the evening, prior to sunset, this Sunday. BUT... and this is very important... viewing the eclipse by looking into the sun can cause permanent loss of vision. Often, people think that by using multiple sunglasses, or two polarized sunglasses with the vision darkened by crossing one over the other, or other direct-observation methods, will work, but these persons will most likely have their retinas burned permanently due to the fact that invisible rays from the sun are not filtered.
Here are two safe methods of observing the eclipse: The first is to observe it through a rectangular number 14 arc-welders glass filter. Again... do not attempt to duplicate this with multiple sunglasses ... too much invisible radiation will pass through them. You must use a number 14 arc-welders glass filter for direct observation.
Tthe safest way to observe it is by projecting an image of the sun onto a white surface, using essentially a home-made pin-hole camera. You can easily do this, safely, with two sheets of cardboard. Punch a small hole in one of them, and then hold them a couple feet apart, allowing the sun's rays to go thru the hole, and then illuminate the other piece of cardboard or poster board. Don't look thru the hole... just look at the image of the sun which will be projected onto the board without the hole.
One more warning: Do not attempt to use your camera to take a picture of the eclipse, as this can burn out the image sensor in your camera.
Again, the partial solar eclipse will be visible throughout Wyoming, late in the day Sunday, May 20th, prior to sunset.
For those wishing to see a total solar eclipse, which occur infrequently, one will be visible in our area from Boundurant through Jackson on August 21, 2017 (in 5 years).