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May 18

Weekend Image: Catch the Annular Solar Eclipse

If you’re anywhere in Japan, the Aleutian Islands of Alaska, or on the West Coast of the United States, you may be in for a visual treat on May 20th (or May 21st in the Eastern Hemisphere.)

Residents on the West Coast in particular will enjoy the first solar eclipse since 1994 and the last for another 11 years. Lassen Volcanic National Park in Northern California is preparing for this weekend’s event, and will welcome visitors to watch from their parking lots with the aid of special solar shades that allow one to view the eclipse. An annular solar eclipse is when the moon passes in front of the sun, but it’s apparent size is smaller than the sun, thus creating an “annulus” or very bright ring around the edge of the moon.

For more on the beauty of the sky, check out his video form Gresham College by Professor Ian Morison. Skip to 24:30 for an explanation on an even rarer annular solar eclipse event– one that we may never again see in our lifetimes.

Prof. Ian Morison on Beauty in the Heavens from Gresham College on FORA.tv

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