Solar Eclipse Sunday

Don't miss out this Sunday, May 20, 2012, on what's sure to be one of the best chances you'll ever have to see a near-total solar eclipse from your own backyard. The last time a solar eclipse of this magnitude happened in Arizona was in 1821.

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the Earth and the Sun (and, for what it's worth, a lunar eclipse happens when the Earth's shadow passes over the moon).  Because the moon was recently at perigee, when it's closest to the Earth, this solar eclipse will be of the annular variety, meaning the moon will not completely blot out the sun.  But it's sure to be a fantastic, memorable experience.  On Sunday, the event will begin at about 5:30 PM local time and last until sunset.

Remember: DO NOT LOOK DIRECTLY AT THE SUN!  Viewing a solar eclipse directly can be very dangerous.  The best way to see what's happening is indirectly, via a pinhole viewer or other special solar-viewing apparatus.  Simple instructions for making a simple, safe pinhole device are available online.

Additional information on this rare astronomical event can be found online.


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