Solar eclipse – Las Vegas – May 20, 2012

Solar Eclipse Time Lapse

Solar eclipse visible in Las Vegas

on May 20, 2012


The Moon will block 91% of the Sun’s light in an annular eclipse, but it still won’t be safe to stare at the Sun. The annular phase of this solar eclipse is not visible in Las Vegas, but it can be observed there as a partial solar eclipse.  The Moon covers a large portion of the Sun, so this is still a spectacular sight.

Solar Eclipse 2

The first thing to remember about observing an solar eclipse is safety.  A lunar eclipse — an eclipse of the Moon — is perfectly safe to watch with the naked eye; you’re only looking at the Moon, at night, which is quite safe. A solar eclipse is potentially dangerous, however, because viewing a solar eclipse involves looking at the Sun, which can damage your eyesight.

NEVER attempt to look at the Sun through a telescope, camera, binoculars, or anything else! A solar eclipse can be viewed safely with the naked eye only during the few brief seconds or minutes of a total solar eclipse, when the Sun itself is completely obscured by the Moon. Partial eclipses, annular eclipses, and the partial phases of total eclipses are never safe to watch without taking special precautions.

Solar Eclipse Eye Wear is Vital

It’s important to wear proper eye protection.  Looking at the sun without it is unsafe and can cause blindness.  Normal sunglasses will not protect your eyes. Safe solar glasses that dim the intensity of the sun by 10,000 times is available for purchase at the astronomy store at College of Southern Nevada (CSN).  Or you can also pick up a #14 welder’s mask at a local hardware store.
One of the simplest ways to experience the eclipse is to find a semi-shady place under a tree and watch the circles of sunlight through the leaves. When the sun goes annular, you’ll see bright rings on the ground.
 Solar Eclipse

Solar eclipse visible in Las Vegas

on May 20, 2012

If you want to maximize your viewing experience, Southern Nevada Planetarium and Observatory at CSN will open at 4 p.m. on Sunday, May 20 for eclipse viewing.  Telescopes will be set up at the student observatory adjacent to the planetarium.
This eclipse is the first solar eclipse of any kind in the mainland U.S. (not including Hawaii and Alaska) in the 21st century. In addition, the May 20, 2012 eclipse is the first time in 18 years that the moon will cross directly in front of the sun as seen from U.S. shores.

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