5.20.2012 Solar Eclipse (Photos Included)

Here are some photos taken from NBC Bay Area during our newscast and just outside our studios as we caught some images of multiple crescent shaped “mini-eclipses” cast in the shadows from nearby tree branches.

Near max coverage in the Bay Area just after 6:30 pm on Sunday, May 20th, 2012.

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What makes this event especially unique (and the first of its kind seen in the US since 1994) is the particular placement of the Moon as it crosses between the Earth and Sun.

Courtesy: Space.com

With the Moon slightly further outward on its orbit around the Earth, the Moon doesn’t entirely cover the Sun’s surface.  This creates what is sometimes referred to as a “ring of fire” around the Moon, the “annulus” to the “annular” name of this type of solar eclipse.

Courtesy: Space.com

Courtesy: Space.com

There is reason to hope for nice weather for next weekend, as this type of event will not be seen in the Bay Area again for many years.  In fact its looking like 2028 for the next, less impressive partial view of the solar eclipse and not until 2045 or 2046 will be closer to the path of totality again like we will be seeing on May 20th this year.


Since we don’t get these often, it may sometimes be easy to forget that unlike Lunar eclipses we can easily view with no problems at night – attempts to view a solar eclipse can damage your eyesight permanently.

Here’s a very cost friendly and very effective solution – find two index cards, pieces of paper and card board and punch a pinhole through one and use the other as your focusing screen.  

The net result is a miniature “projector” where the Sun’s image will be cast through the hole onto the second panel.  During most eclipses you see a “PacMan” or “Apple Logo” like feature and with next Sunday’s eclipse expected to cover 70-85% of the Sun the effect should be fairly interesting.  Some enterprising photographers have been known to set up multiple versions of this to create a field of “cut out suns” across the ground in photography (editor’s note: As seen in the slideshow above – yes!)

Next up will be a Lunar eclipse on June 4th and a transit of planet Venus over the Sun around sunset on June 5th!

By robmayeda

6 comments on “5.20.2012 Solar Eclipse (Photos Included)

  1. I hope everyone will take this precaution an take care not to damage your eyes. See the very easy way to view this eclipse for cheap included in this site.

  2. Pingback: Solar Eclipse 2012 |

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