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Viewing Solar Eclipses

Fred Espenak

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Partial and Annular Solar Eclipses

Extreme care must be taken when watching a partial or annular eclipse. In either case, the remaining uneclipsed portion of the Sun is blindingly bright. This is true even if the eclipse has a magnitude of 0.999. There are several ways to Safely View An Eclipse. Keep in mind that an eclipse is no more dangerous to view than the Sun is on any normal day. Curiosity compels some people to stare directly at an eclipse and this can cause permanent eye damage. Never look directly at the Sun with the naked eye or through any optical device (e.g. - camera, binoculars or telescope) without using an appropriate filter. Several types of solar filters are designed specifically for Sun viewing. They are available from a number of filter manufacturers and distributors as well as from telescope dealers. You can also use the pinhole projection method to safely watch an eclipse.

Upcoming Annular Eclipses

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Total Solar Eclipses

During a total eclipse, the sky grows dramatically dark, bright stars and planets are visible and the Sun's glorious corona is revealed. Even a 99.9% partial or annular eclipse can not compare to witnessing a total eclipse. The only time it is entirely safe to look directly at the Sun without eye protection is during totality when the Sun is 100% completely eclipsed. Please note that you must be inside the path of a total eclipse in order to see totality. If you ever find yourself within driving distance of the path of a total eclipse, make every effort to be inside the path on eclipse day! The Experience of Totality offers one of the grandest sights in all of Nature.

Upcoming Total Eclipses

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Resources: Links to Solar Eclipse Catalogs and Maps

Return to Solar Eclipses Visible from Selected Cities

Return to NASA Eclipse Web Site

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NASA logo
Eclipse Predictions & WebMaster: Fred Espenak

Planetary Systems Branch - Code 693
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland 20771 USA

Last revised: 2003 Mar 11 - F. Espenak