Sunday, May 20, 2012

Partial Solar Eclipse

Today, we were lucky to be in the path of a partial solar eclipse.  It was quite a fun experience and brought back lots of memories of the partial solar eclipse that I witnessed on July 11, 1991.  I was not in the path of totality at that time but the sun was about 94% eclipsed from my vantage point.  Since I was not in the path that got to experience a full eclipse, I learned a lot about how to safely view an eclipse so as not to cause permanent eye damage.  To view today's eclipse, in which 84% of the sun was obscured from my location, I made a "solar eclipse viewer" that I learned to make online.

Shoe box solar eclipse viewer
This "solar eclipse viewer" allowed me to view the eclipse without having to look directly at the sun and causing permanent eye damage.

View of the eclipse at it's peak in my area.
Another cool way that I got to view the eclipse was from a neighbor who let me borrow their welding glass.  I had tried to get a pair of those special eclipse viewing glasses but it was too late to order a pair at the time I found out about the eclipse.  I had used them when I viewed the partial eclipse in 1991 and wish I had a pair this time.  The neighbor having welding glass was definitely a nice treat!

My camera's view of the eclipse when held up to the welding glass.
The coolest thing about this eclipse, however, was viewing the shadows that were cast by the leaves on the trees.  The leaves on the trees acted like little "pin hole cameras."  Even my little two-year old thought it was "cool."
View of the shadows cast by the eclipse on asphalt.
My two-year old checking out the shadows.
Baby #2 and I having fun with our shadows.
Viewing the eclipse ended up being a fun family adventure and the entire neighborhood came out to see it.  It is always fun when you don't have to spend money on a good time and hang out with your family and neighbors at the same time.  It's too bad we have to wait until October 23, 2014 for the next partial solar eclipse in our area.  You can check out this link to find the next eclipse in your area.

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