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Thursday, February 29 2024 @ 06:28 am EST

What a Sunset THIS will be!

SolarOn May 20, 2012, the day will begin as almost any other. But as the Sun prepares to set on this particular evening, folks in the border region of AR/OK will be treated to a slightly unusual partial Solar Eclipse. At about 7:32 pm, the moon will take its "first bite" out of the edge of the Sun, but YOU MUST TAKE PRECAUTIONS TO SEE THIS EVENT TO AVOID POSSIBLY PERMANENT DAMAGE TO YOUR EYES!
ONLY WITH PROPER EYE PROTECTION by 8:00pm, then THIS is how we will see the moon move into alignment with the Sun on Sunday evening, May 20, 2012 setting up for a sensational partially eclipsed Sun as the Sun drops below the western horizon at 8:15pm. This image is from the FREE software Stellarium using "ocean" as the horizon to provide a smooth, flat bottom edge.

Sometimes as sunset occurs during the late days of May in this part of mid-America, there will be a haze forming in the far western horizon which make the Sun appear really red. Even if its only red-orange, the amount of sunlight seeping through horizonal haze will let us look directly at the Sun, but ONLY if conditions conspire all together at the right time! It is IMPERATIVE that you DO NOT LOOK at the Sun as this eclipse occurs before the Sun is nearly touching the far western horizon. If there is anything obstructing the view to the west of wherever observers happen to be on May 20 at about 8:10pm, you will not see this eclipse unless you have proper SOLAR ECLIPSE GLASSES! .

By 8:15, the Sun will be on the western horizon, and if either the conditions are just right and you can comfortably look directly at the Sun, OR, if the Sun is still too bright and you HAVE your eclipse glasses, then this view BELOW is what will greet us all this May 20.
What a sunset THIS is gonna be!

Click also for a few of my eclipse day images from Cedarville's Sunset Observatory. Rainbow Symphony Eclipse Shades can be found at:


My first image where I missed the actual "first contact" point when the edge of the moon first visibly touches the solar limb and the eclipse begins. Sunspots are seen across the face of the Sun.

Later the moon has moved farther into the solar disk and this is about the same time we could feel the heat of the day begin to drop due to less energy able to reach the Earth.

Here the solar disk is getting much closer to the western horizon where the pollutants and particulates create the reddening as depicted.

The eclipse is about over as the first tree limbs begin to intrude into my picture, and the reddening continues to darken slightly.

All in all, it was a fun eclipse as Joe Roam takes his last peak through the scope. We don't get that many eclipses where the eastern or western horizons come into play, and this always gives devoted solar imagers a chance to plan out a view with a distant (or foreground) object to lend an aesthetic component to their shots. I just like taking it the way it is presented to me from wherever I am. Its just as much fun since its a semi-rare thing that always gives a great picture. Hope you all got an opportunity to see this last eclipse.
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