Warning- Never look at the sun directly with your eyes, optical equipment or camera without adequate filters.
Every year the Earth orbits the Sun and every month the Moon orbits the Earth. Every now and then their paths through the sky appear to cross. When this happens, the Moon appears to pass in front of the Sun. This causes the Moon to cast a shadow on the Earth and we call this event a solar eclipse. You can see a diagram that represents this below.
This month, on 10th June, we will get the chance to see one of these events. This eclipse is known as an Annular Eclipse. During the period of maximum eclipse, the Moon will not cover the full disk of the Sun but instead leave a ring light known as “the Ring of Fire”.
If you look at the diagram above, you may notice that only a small part of the Earth will be in shadow. This means that you will only see the eclipse if you are standing at the right place on Earth. For this eclipse the parts of Earth that will see the Sun covered to the maximum are parts of Canada, Greenland and Russia. The further you are away from that path, the less of the Sun will appear to be covered. This type of an eclipse is called a partial eclipse. For us in Ireland, about 20 -30% of the Sun will be blocked by the Moon. The exact figure depends on where you are.
On the morning of June 10th, the first contact will be at around 10:05 (Irish time). This is the the time the Moon will appear to start crossing the Sun. The Moon will continue to cover more and more of the Sun’s disk until around 11.10 (Irish time) and then start to move off. The last contact and end of the eclipse will be around 12:25 (Irish time). The timings will vary by a few mins depending on where you are.
Looking at the Sun is really dangerous if done incorrectly. It can melt equipment, burn sensors and destroy your eyes in an instant. It’s possible to view the eclipse through specially designed filters but as most people won’t have access to those I am going to show you some other methods that can be used to view the eclipse safely.
Equipment: Cardboard box (cereal or shoebox), white paper, aluminum foil, a pin and sticky-tape.
- Open the box and stick the white paper to the inside of the end of the box.
- Close the box and tape it shut.
- Cut two holes in the end of box opposite the white paper.
- Cover one of the holes opposite the white card with aluminum foil, taping it down.
- Poke a hole in the foil with the pin. The smaller and more round the better so don’t wiggle the pin about as this will make a large uneven hole.
- Hold your viewer so that the foil is pointing towards the Sun.
- Look through the viewing hole in the end and you should see a projected image of the Sun on the white card at the end. You may need to move the box around slightly to line it up with the Sun.