Solar Eclipse

Staff Writer

Today's solar eclipse will reach its climax in Mammoth Lakes at about 10:30 a.m.
To safely view the eclipse, please follow the tips below, provided by Dr. Mark Hodges of the Owens Valley Radio Observatory:

When the Moon first touches the Sun, or “starts to take a bite out of the Sun’s disk” is the start of the partial eclipse. The start, mid-eclipse and end times for the partial eclipse depend on your location. The times listed below are for Bishop and are within a minute of the times for observers from Mammoth Lakes to Lone Pine.
Start of partial eclipse: 9:05:27 AM
Mid-eclipse: 10:21:43 AM
End of partial eclipse: 11:45:43 AM
When the Sun is shining brightly, you would never think of staring at it without eye protection. The Sun is dazzlingly bright, enough to permanently damage your eyes. Likewise, any time the disk of the Sun is visible – throughout the entire partial eclipse – you need proper eye protection. Even a tiny piece of the Sun is bright enough to damage your eyes. 1% of the Sun’s surface is about 10,000 times brighter than the Full Moon. Your eyes can be damaged without you feeling any pain.

There are several ways to view the eclipse without damaging your eyes and here are a few:
Solar Eclipse Glasses
The most convenient way to watch the partial phases of an eclipse is with solar eclipse glasses. These devices consist of solar filters mounted in cardboard frames that can be worn like a pair of eyeglasses. If you normally wear prescription eyeglasses, you place the eclipse glasses right in front of them. When you are using a filter, do not stare for long periods at the Sun as there may be tiny holes in the filter. They can be purchased online for about $1. The transmitted colors can vary from blue to orange.
Welder’s Goggles
Another safe filter for looking directly at the Sun is welder’s goggles (or the filters for welder’s goggles) with a shade of 14 or 15. They are relatively inexpensive and can be purchased welding supply companies. They cost more than eclipse glasses and make the Sun look green.
The Pinhole Projection Method
You can easily make your own pinhole projector, which allows you to view a projected image of the Sun. The projector can be a pinhole camera made out of a cardboard box (my preferred method), but a perfectly adequate (and portable) version can be made out of two thin but stiff pieces of white cardboard. Punch a small clean pinhole in one piece of cardboard and let the sunlight fall through that hole onto the second piece of cardboard, which serves as a screen. An inverted image of the Sun is formed. To make the image larger, move the screen farther from the pinhole. To make the image brighter, move the screen closer to the pinhole. Do not make the pinhole wide or you will have only a shaft of sunlight rather than an image of the crescent Sun. Remember, with any type of pinhole projector, your back is to the Sun. The sunlight passes over your shoulder, through the pinhole, and forms an image on the cardboard screen behind it. Never look through the pinhole at the Sun!
The Binocular Projection Method
You can also project the image of the Sun through a pair of binoculars onto a piece of white cardboard. Never look at the Sun through binoculars without a solar filter!
Other methods:
Look around for a tall tree and look for small solar crescents created by small gaps in the leaves. The taller the tree, the larger the images. Even a simple pasta colander can be used to project dozens of images of the eclipsed Sun onto a piece of white cardboard.
Eye Suicide
Never use standard or polaroid sunglasses to observe the partial phases of an eclipse. They are not solar filters. Standard and polaroid sunglasses are not made to look at the Sun. Here is a partial list of items you should never use: sunglasses, crossed polaroids, smoked glass, exposed film, photographic neutral-density filters, or polarizing filters.

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