|This is what you can except to see from the|
centerline of the solar eclipse on May 20th--as long
as you have proper eye protection!
Even more exciting, along the centerline, this will be an annular eclipse. An annular eclipse happens when the moon is far away from the earth in its elliptical orbit so it's a bit smaller than normal--too small to entirely cover the sun. Instead, you'll see a ring of fire completely encircling the sun.
Even if you aren't on this centerline, this will still be the best solar eclipse in this part of the world in decades. From Seattle to San Diego, you'll see a good 80% or more of the sun taken out by the moon.
But this is the sun we're talking about here, and you'll go blind if you try to watch the eclipse directly. No, to watch this rare alignment of the earth, sun, and moon, you need eye protection. You need eclipse glasses! Something that blocks 100% of the ultraviolet and infrared light and blocks 99.999% of visible light.
I'm planning an eclipse party for Northern California--please drop in if you're in the area! So I took the liberty of ordering a bunch of eclipse glasses. When I tried to order them, I was told these things are in hot demand for the upcoming eclipse and that they were back-ordered for weeks. Afraid they might not come in time for the grand event, I hedged my bets by ordering them from two different companies.
|Order eclipse glasses which|
block 99.999% of visible light
and 100% of ultraviolet and infrared
light to view the eclipse safely!
I've already set aside eclipse glasses for everyone who will be attending the event and you can buy them off me then. If you want to order them now, though, that's perfectly okay as well! You can look for sunspots until the "big day." =) It also means you can pay with PayPal. (I'll only be accepting cash at the event!)
You'll want to hang on to them after the solar eclipse--a couple of weeks after the solar eclipse is an even more rare and usual event: a Venus transit of the sun. This will be the last Venus transit until the year 2117--in all likelihood, an event that none of us will still be alive to witness. The transit will be visible from the entire United States, so if you want to witness this twice-in-a-lifetime event (the last one was 8 years ago). You'll need eye protection to watch Venus creep across the sun's surface the morning of June 5th. It won't be anything near as impressive as the annular eclipse two weeks earlier, but if you already have the glasses--check it out! You won't have another opportunity in this century!
|This is a time-lapse photo of the 2004 Venus transit--a twice-in-a-lifetime|
event happening on June 5th and the last Venus transit until 2117!