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gailcalled's avatar

Will you be watching the annular solar eclipse on Sunday, May 20?

Asked by gailcalled (54443points) May 18th, 2012

Nasa info

Excellent views near Eureka, Redding, northern suburbs of Sacramento, CA and Lake Tahoe.

Also in Reno, the Grand Canyon, Albuquerque and Lubbock. Outside of the states, Hong Kong, Taipei, Taiwan, Tokyo and the Aleutian Islands.

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16 Answers

lillycoyote's avatar

I would love to but I live on the east coast, near Philadelphia, and it’s not a prime spot for it. And while I didn’t get to view it, I did get to experience a total solar eclipse, this one, in February of 1976. I was living in Portland, OR at the time, a prime location for the eclipse, but it was overcast that day. Suprise! Cloudy skies in February in Portland! But it was still amazing. I remember that when the eclipse started all the birds, particularly, started getting a little crazy and the eclipse was something you could almost feel. It was kind of eery, kind of natural and preternatural at the same time. It’s hard to explain how I “felt” the eclipse even though I couldn’t see it.

That was a pretty amazing time to live in that area, in terms of natural phenomena and I am grateful to have been there then. There was the total solar eclipse in 1979 and then Mt. St. Helens coming to life and erupting the next year, 1980. I’ve been thinking about that today, of course, because May 18 is the anniversary of Mt. St. Helens’ big eruption. We would get ash “showers, ” ash “storms” in Portland, from the mountain, where ash would fall down like snowflakes and you could see the minor, and some not so minor, eruptions and the “dome building” eruptions in the distance. You could get an excellent view of the mountain just from some of the pedestrian bridges in town. I know it is a little off topic, but if you or anyone cares to look, the Boston Globe has collected and posted some great images on one of their websites to commemorate Mt. St. Helens’ anniversary. Fluther doesn’t lend itself very well to questions like: “Does anyone want to help me celebrate the 32nd anniversary of the eruption of Mt. St. Helens?” so hope you don’t mind me posting them here.

Thar she blows!

cazzie's avatar

No, we won’t see it where we are, but don’t forget the Transit of Venus across the sun on the 5th of June! I featured some info on my blog..

Charles's avatar

I plan on it.

By the way, an excellent website that provides times and locations to view satellites is called Heavens Above. It has the Space Station fly by times and probably the best of all, Iridium Flares. Go to the site, use the database or search tool to home in on your location, look for Iridium Flares. Note: The lower the number the brighter they are so a flare of intensity -8 is brighter than -4. A -8 is the brightest number listed. It will show the start time and location, the time of brightest intensity, and the direction the flare will be moving across the sky. You can look a week ahead at a time too.

filmfann's avatar

The Transit of Venus is much rarer (once every 100 years), but this eclipse (once ever 18) is pretty amazing too.
To get the best view, I would have to drive 3 hours to my home in Shingletown (just outside Redding). To do this, and still go to work Monday will be a major pain, but I will probably do it.

ShanEnri's avatar

I’m not sure how much we’ll see here on the East coast but I’ll be looking if I can!

gailcalled's avatar

@filmfann: If the weather is clear, take a half-day of vacation or personal time. You may not get another chance. Bring the correct eye protection,

@ShanEnri; Read the links and the details. Nothing much on the east coast.

@all: I enjoy hearing your stories of extraordinary observations of natural events.

cazzie's avatar

Shall we start a new thread for the Transit of Venus? Seeing as how that is more rare and interesting to some?

gailcalled's avatar

Feel free. It is difficult for the general public to see without special equipment and careful safety precautions. A pin-hole camera is easy but gives a tiny, tiny blurred image.

Info for amateurs

cazzie's avatar

NO! just some welders glasses. easy. Also, where I am currently, Venus is AMAZINGLY bright in the northeastern sky, so watching it transverse the sun is an amazing reminder of how far away it is, yet how bright the sun reflects off it. If I can get camera gear for the event, like I did for the lunar eclipse, a couple years ago, I will post it on my blog. Remember to look up and see the Universe in it’s awesomeness, but never feel small because you are absolutely part of it. You are made of stars.

gailcalled's avatar

Only easy when you know exactly what to do. Some people think that sunglasses or old-fashioned film negatives are safe.

Even with welder’s glasses, there are profound safety concerns.

It is imperative that the welding hood houses a #14 or darker glass filter. Do not view through any welding glass if you do not know or cannot discern its shade number. Be advised that welders typically use glass with a shade much less than the necessary #14. Just because the hood makes the sun somewhat more tolerable to see does not mean the welding glass is of the proper kind.

The view through a proper #14 welding glass shows only the sun, which will appear green. The surrounding landscape is not visible.

A welding glass that is less than shade #14 allows too much light to pass.”


cazzie's avatar

@gailcalled knowing what to do is easy. You just have to listen to people who know, like me and NASA.

gailcalled's avatar

@cazzie:Will do. (its).

“Only the East Coast will miss out on the show due to nightfall.”

serenade's avatar

Our meteorologist made a relevant point that this particular eclipse (at least for the Mountain Time Zone) is comparable to looking at a sunset. Not that there is no risk, but people look at sunsets all the time, and the sun will be in a similar position for this eclipse.

cazzie's avatar

@gailcalled, read my blog, It says number 14 welders glasses for the Transit of Venus.

bewailknot's avatar

I hope I remember to look – I am in California

Coloma's avatar

AMAZING! I had forgotten all about it and about 45 minutes ago around 6:30 pm noticed the odd light and surreal look of everything. I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me and then…ZING lightbulb moment, the eclipse! Very beautiful and surreal here, the green, green woods and this strange muted light and the odd shadows. Still a little “off” out there, but ending now. :-) I’m in the Sierra foothills an hour from Tahoe.

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