Partial Solar Eclipse

by Margie Cantlon

An eclipse of the sun happens when the moon moves in front of the sun and partially or completely blocks the sun from view. This eclipse will be partial – the moon does not completely cover the sun, but instead seems to “take a bite out of it.” The size of the bite depends on where you are. At Sun Meadow, the eclipse begins at 2:09 pm when the moon begins to move in front of the sun. The sun is then 1/3 of the way up the southwestern sky. A few minutes later people with properly-filtered telescopes will see a “bite” taken out of the right side of the sun. This bite grows slowly larger over the next 80 minutes until at 3:29 the moon covers almost half of the sun, and this is maximum eclipse. The moon then begins to move off the face of the sun, covering less of it minute-by-minute until 4:41 when the eclipse ends.

The sun will grow slightly darker during the eclipse, but not enough to notice. Even when eclipsed the sun is far too bright to look at without proper filters. Number 14 welders filters will work well, as will specially made Mylar and glass solar filters which can be purchased commercially. Fortunately for us, John Mosley has sent us a “sun peep,” which is a “safe eclipse viewer.” We can pass the thing around so we can all get a look at the eclipse.

In parts of region that are further west, the eclipse starts earlier.  In points east, the eclipse starts later.  Please check your local news for details. Or there is a schedule at http://www.vercalendario.info/en/moon/united_states-23-october-2014.html. And be sure to protect your eyes.  Handy hints can be found at http://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/eclipse-tips-safety.html