Annular Eclipse

Path of the annular eclipse on May 20. Image from http://www.eclipser.ca

On May 20th the Moon will pass in front of the Sun eclipsing most of our nearest star, leaving only a small ring, or annulus, of the Sun’s surface visible. This annular eclipse (annular is derived from annulus, the ring of the Sun that is still visible, and should not be confused with annual) will be best viewed from the American South-West, through portions of Japan and Eastern China, but Canadians will still be able to see a partial eclipse.

Canadians in the south of the country from Winnipeg westwards will see the most of the partial eclipse. In northern and southern Ontario the eclipse starts just before sunset. Unfortunately for those further east, they will not be able to catch this event.

In Winnipeg and central Canada, the Moon will cover about 51% of the Sun’s surface. The further west you head, the more of the Sun will be covered to a maximum of 73% in the Vancouver area. In southern Ontario and the Toronto region, the Moon will cover only 18% of the Sun.

When viewing the eclipse, it is very important to have appropriate eye protection. You will need special glasses coated with Mylar or a specific metal coating. These can often be obtained from a local astronomy group, planetarium of science centre. In Winnipeg you can get these viewing glasses at The Manitoba Museum for $2 each. You can also use a #14 arc welder’s filter or pinhole-projection.

For a quick and easy pinhole-projection device you’ll need some foil, a piece of white paper and a shoebox. Cut a round hole at each end of the shoebox. Poke a pinhole through the foil and use it to cover the hole at one end of the box. Over the opposing hole, mount the white piece of paper; this becomes the screen you watch during the eclipse.

It is very important that you never look directly at the Sun with the naked eye or without proper protection during an annular eclipse. Unlike a total eclipse where you can briefly take off your solar glasses during totality, there is no safe time to look at the Sun during an annular eclipse, even in locations (such as the south-western United-States) where you can view the complete annular eclipse.

A pair of solar glasses is essential for viewing an eclipse.

Annular Eclipse Time Table for Select Cities in Canada

All Times are local for Sunday, May 20, 2012

Location

Eclipse Begins

Mid-eclipse

Eclipse Ends

Victoria

17:01 PDT

18:16

19:25

Vancouver

16:59 PDT

18:15

19:23

Calgary

18:04 MDT

19:14

20:18

Edmonton

18:01 MDT

19:10

20:13

Yellowknife

17:50 MDT

18:54

19:54

Regina

18:10 CST

19:15

20:15

Winnipeg

19:13 CDT

20:14

21:11

Toronto

20:19 EDT

20:40

After sunset

Ottawa

20:17 EDT

20:31

After sunset

Montreal

20:17

20:23

After sunset

For more detailed times of the eclipse please consult the RASC Observer’s Handbook 2012 or you can visit http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov.

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2 thoughts on “Annular Eclipse

    • Hi Jenny, thank you for your question. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to see the eclipse as it is happening at night for Africa and Europe. However, I do hope to be able to take some pictures and share them on my site with those who won’t see the eclipse because of their location or bad weather. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for clear skies. Happy star gazing.

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