Sunday, May 20, 2012

Solar Eclipse May 20,2012

We haven't been able to see a good solar eclipse for many years in central Arizona.  Today's solar eclipse was fantastic!  An even better spot would have been the Grand Canyon.  Grand indeed!  Unfortunately, I couldn't quite get up there in time, as it is approximately four hours away. 

Of course you never want to look at an eclipse directly.  Unless you have the correct solar filters, your best bet would be use an indirect means of observing.  There are many ways to do this.  The simplest way to observe a solar eclipse would be to make a pinhole through some cardboard and allow the sunlight to pass through to hole to a paper.  This works but makes a very small image.  For today's eclipse we rigged a pair of astronomical binoculars by allowing the sunlight to pass through the large end and projected it on a piece of white paper.  We could even see sunspots using this method. Here are some pictures of what we could see from the Phoenix, Arizona area:

My favorite way of observing an eclipse does not require any equipment.  All you have to do is look around you.  As light gets filtered through tree leaves, blinds in your home, and other small pinpoints of light, crescents appear around you.  This is an actual image of the eclipse, similar to the way the pinhole viewer works.  Here is an example on my neighbor's house where the sun's crescent appeared everywhere:

The blinds in my house were also allowing just the right amount of light to allow multiple little eclipses on the wall.
I hope you had the opportunity to be in the right location to see this fantastic event.  The next one in my area is not until 2023.  I am sure I will out observing it.


Cynthia said...

I enjoyed seeing your pictures. We live in Georgia and didn't get to enjoy it here.

A totally different question. Did you make your own header for your blog, or did you have it designed? I love it. I have been playing around with mine, but it is a little blurry.

I would love some info. My e-mail is


2nd Grade Pad

Amy (aka Science Stuff) said...

Kim! Such amazing pictures! I am so glad you got to see the eclipse. I live too far east and we saw absolutely none of it. What an exciting thing to witness! As soon as I get home from school today, I will definitely be sharing this blog post with my facebook and twitter and pinterest followers! Great job!

Addie Williams said...

These are great!! Love the filtered eclipses on your wall! Can't wait to show these to my students tomorrow.

Addie Education - Teacher Talk

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