eclipsesolar 300WESTERN KY (5/11/12)—In just over a week from now, many residents of North America will get the chance to view a truly historic interstellar event that hasn’t been visible from US shores in nearly 20 years: an annular solar eclipse.

While those living in the western states (from portions of California to Texas) will get to view the event as an “annular” or “fire ring” type of eclipse, much of the remaining US states, including Kentucky, will be viewing the event as a partial solar eclipse.

Set to take place on the afternoon/night of May 20th, 2012 for American onlookers, the actual annular eclipse will be the first to take place over the contiguous US since May, 1994 and scientists say it won’t take place again until October 14th, 2023. What’s more, both the partial and annular event mark the first eclipse of the new century.

What is exactly is an annular eclipse, though?

To sum it up on a more basic level, this type of eclipse takes place when the moon blocks out all light from the sun except a "small" annulus or “ring of fire” (which will look like it’s encircling the edge of our moon). The phenomenon takes place when the distance between the sun and moon isn’t large enough to produce a full solar eclipse.

Residents of Western Kentucky won’t get to see the full effect of the annular eclipse, but the moon can often cover anywhere from ½ to ¾ of the sun during the partial eclipse, meaning that what our region will see can be just as exciting.

In either case, however, there are some guidelines to follow for a successful and safe viewing of this notably rare event.

As the eclipse will be occurring in the late afternoon/evening for much of the US, an area with a clear view of the western sky/horizon will be best for viewing purposes. While times will ultimately vary by location, it is estimated that the annular eclipse will start on the west coast at 6:23pm PDT/8:23pm CST and will come to a close at sunset over Texas at 8:39pm CDT/CST. For those in western Kentucky, especially Hopkins County, the best time to catch the partial eclipse will be during the peak at around 7:25pmCST/1:25 Universal Time (UT). Whereas the partial eclipse will actually begin for area onlookers at approximately 6:26pmCST/00:26 UT and will end around 8:20pmCST/2:20 UT.

For any and all observers, eye protection is a must. As staring directly at the sun can cause permanent damage to one’s eyes, including blindness, it is essential to take the proper precautions.

Though “solar shades” (No. 14 welder’s glass) and equipment filters can be purchased from telescope stores/businesses, one of the simplest and perhaps safest ways to view the event indirectly is the “solar projection method.” To do this, however, you will need a telescope or binoculars and a shaded white piece of cardboard.

Basically, you will use your telescope or binoculars to project a magnified image of the sun’s disk onto the shaded white piece of cardboard. The bright dot of light will display a shadow as the moon swings in front of the sun. When using this method, you can take photos without risk of damage to your eyes.

To learn more about the 2012 Annular/Partial Solar Eclipse, such as how to compute your own best viewing times (different for each area), visit EarthSky.org by clicking here.

Luke Short
SurfKY News
Some information provided by EarthSky.org and NASA.gov

LIKE SurfKY on Facebook - Click here to LIKE us now.

© Copyright 2015 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story on social media.

Posted on 2/2/14
3/13 - 16
1 DOW 18,024.06
+183.54 (1.03%)    
2 S&P 2,108.29
+22.78 (1.09%)    
3 NASDAQ 5,005.39
+63.97 (1.29%)    
3/13 - 16

Most Read This Week

April 28, 2015 4091

Search for Stolen Vehicle Ends with Woman Charged…

by SurfKY News
April 27, 2015 3434

Online Petition Seeking Re­opening of Shanice…

by Samantha Carver, SurfKY News
April 28, 2015 3299

Man Charged with Stalking Smoke Shop Clerk

by MPD
April 27, 2015 2852

Hopkins County Drug War ― Are We Winning?

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
April 30, 2015 2738

Family Says 'Goodbye' to Dog After It Allegedly…

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News

Most Read This Month

April 17, 2015 15376

An Open Letter from an Addict

by Olivia Kirks
April 23, 2015 8434

Man Charged with Sodomy, Incest/Victim under 12

by SurfKY News

Stories Trending Now

May 02, 2015 1160

Frymire’s Life Accomplishments, Dedication to MCC…

by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
May 03, 2015 1065

Two Injured During Two-Vehicle Collision

by SurfKY News
May 01, 2015 871

Above and Beyond: Leighann Stroud

by Gary Gates, SurfKY News
May 02, 2015 716

Don't Bet on Supreme Court Overturning Marriage…

by Richard Nelson
May 02, 2015 653

Homegrown by Heroes Receives Donation from…

by Ted Sloan
May 02, 2015 620

Weeknight activities the whole family can enjoy

by SurfKY News
May 02, 2015 587

New Mather Metals to Expand in Franklin

by Office of the Governor
May 02, 2015 580

Baptist Health Hosts Annual ‘Bike Safety Day’

by Gary Gates, SurfKY News
May 02, 2015 551

Hooked on Science - 'Kentucky Derby Balloon Race'

by Jason Lindsey