Observing the partial solar eclipse

This is what the upcoming partial solar eclipse will look like when viewed from Killarney
This is what the upcoming partial solar eclipse will look like when viewed from Killarney

On Monday the 21st August, the Moon will line up between the Earth and the Sun creating a solar eclipse. Unlike other total solar eclipses in recent years which have been hard to get to, totality for this eclipse is visible from mainland USA and so will generate significant media coverage.

Unfortunately, in Ireland we will not get to enjoy a total solar eclipse and in this instance we get to see a small sliver of the sun gradually disappearing behind the moon in a partial solar eclipse. From Killarney the event will start at 19.38 when the moon starts to slide over the bottom of the sun. By 20.05 it will look like a small chunk has been taken out of the sun and by 20.32 the moon will have cleared the sun and the eclipse will have finished. At it’s maximum, the moon will cover just 5 percent of the sun as seen from Killarney and so will hardly be noticeable unless you know when to look.

For us, this partial eclipse will occur when the sun is on its way to setting and so will be quite low in the sky making it difficult to observe unless you have a clear view of the horizon. In order to view the eclipse safely, you will need to have special solar filters, eclipse shades or learn how to project the sun using a telescope, binoculars or pinhole camera. On no account should you look directly at the sun, or use a telescope or binoculars to do so, as this can cause irreparable damage to the eye.

If you want to observe the eclipse safely, Google “solar projection” or “pinhole camera eclipse”.

solar projection using a telescope is one way to observe the eclipse safely.
solar projection using a telescope is one way to observe the eclipse safely.

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