This morning, a wonderful view of a golden crescent sun was successfully observed by a lot of skyviewers using appropriate filters for visual observing and photography. The partial solar eclipse began at sunrise at 5:27 am local time and ended at 7:06 am. Fortunately, the weather cooperated this time despite bad weather forecasts and continuous rains during the past few days.
In some places like China, Japan, and United States, the event was seen as an annular eclipse which looked like a fiery ring in the sky.
I observed this event along with an Astrosoc orgmate in their house at Marikina City. Their location is great for observing events which can be viewed along the eastern sky. Moreover, it is also high enough to give a very good vantage point.
Only a few minutes after sunrise, a big yellowish grin in the east just above a layer of clouds greeted us earthlings who patiently waited even without sleep. Yay!
Many Filipinos anticipated the event as solar eclipses are not frequently visible in the Philippines. The last one occurred last January 15, 2010, while the next won’t take place until March 9, 2016.
For avid amateur astronomers like me, this event was extra special as it provides a good opportunity for me to practice solar observation in preparation for the upcoming transit of Venus, a very rare phenomenon that won’t be repeated until 2117. I have never done any solar observation before using my own Galileoscope for fear of getting it damaged (its lens and body tube were both made up of plastic which are not great for viewing the sun using solar projection method). Moreover, the danger of having an eye injury also worried me. Hence, I decided not to pursue solar observation unless I get a decent filter that I could safely attach and use with my equipment — be it a camera or my scope.
Months before this event, I was very anxious that I might not be able to observe it having only a cheap plastic scope and a camera. But I was really determined that I’ve read a lot about solar observing and saved some money for it just in case there’d be a need to buy some materials. When the event came nearer, however, financial constraints became a problem, so I just forego the idea of buying a costly filter and chose to buy a #10 welding glass instead. It might not produce nice images but it’s a good and safe alternative.
Nonetheless, God must have heard my thoughts that he made a miracle. Haha! A few days before the solar eclipse, a nice surprise came in when a generous UP AstroSoc orgmate offered me an extra piece of Baader solar filter — for free! Wee!:)
Below were some of the images I took using a hand-held Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH2 digital camera on a 2-inch refractor (Galileoscope) with a Baader 5.0 ND solar filter.
I will upload the other photos soon, including a complete observation report. For the meantime, I’d better get some sleep first because I still need to attend some other important conventions outside the city. 🙂
To the stars!
The first solar eclipse in 2012 will be an annular solar eclipse on May 20–21. The term came from the Latin word “annulus,” meaning “little ring”, because the moon will not completely cover the sun during the totality (unlike in a total solar eclipse), but will leave a fiery ring around its circumference.
A telescopic picture of the Sun taken during the annular eclipse of January 15, 2010 from the city of Kanyakumari at the southern tip of India. Image Credit & Copyright: Mikael Svalgaard
Warning: NEVER look directly at the sun through binoculars, a telescope or with your unaided eye.
At its peak, the moon will block roughly 94 percent of the sun’s light.
This potentially spectacular solar eclipse will be visible from much of Asia, the Pacific region and North America, provided the weather cooperates.
Time table worldwide
The eclipse starts in one location and ends in another, the times below are for visibility for any location on earth.
|Event||UTC Time||Time in Manila|
|First location to see partial eclipse begins||20 May, 20:56||21 May, 04:56|
|First location to see full Eclipse begins||20 May, 22:06||21 May, 06:06|
|Maximum Eclipse||20 May, 23:54||21 May, 07:54|
|Last location to see full Eclipse ends||21 May, 01:39||21 May, 09:39|
|Last location to see partial Eclipse ends||21 May, 02:49||21 May, 10:49|
Note to Philippine observers: The fiery ring would not be visible in the Philippines. Instead, a partial solar eclipse beginning at sunrise on May 21 will be visible.
Local circumstances of the partial solar eclipse on Monday (May 21) in the Philippines courtesy of UPLB Astronomical Society. Screenshots were taken using Stellarium.
Remember that this spectacular sight can only be safely observed with approved solar filters or by projecting an image of the eclipsed Sun onto a flat white surface. Look for pinhole effects on the ground (shadows of trees or bushes) or use some another projection viewing method to safely view the eclipsed sun.
The Sun can be viewed safely with the naked eye ONLY during the few brief seconds or minutes of a total solar eclipse. Even at maximum, the annular eclipse will not cover the brightest parts of the sun. Partial eclipses, annular eclipses, and the partial phases of total eclipses are never safe to watch without taking special precautions. Do not attempt to observe the partial or annular phases of any eclipse with the naked eye. Failure to use appropriate filtration may result in permanent eye damage or blindness!
Tips on how to view the Sun safely
- Eye Safety during Solar Eclipses by Fred Espenak http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SEhelp/safety.html
- Safe Viewing Techniques [of the Sun] http://www.transitofvenus.org/june2012/eye-safety
- Indirect way of viewing the Sun via pinhole projection http://www.education.com/activity/article/Pinhole_Projection/ http://www.exploratorium.edu/eclipse/how.html http://www.hartrao.ac.za/other/eclipse2002/pinhole.html
- Eclipse filters http://www.mreclipse.com/Special/filters.html
“Filters for visual and photographic use
Acceptable filters for unaided visual observations include: aluminized polyester specifically designed for solar viewing, shade 12 and 14 welding filters, black polymer filters (Thousand Oaks Solar Shield 2000 and Rainbow Symphony Polymer), and two layers of fully exposed and developed silver-bearing black and white film negative. For photographic and visual use, particularly with binoculars or telescopes, acceptable filters include: aluminized polyester specifically designed for the purpose, and Questar and Thousand Oaks T1 and T2 glass filters. The Thousand Oaks T3 filter should be used with extreme care for photographic use only. Not recommended are: metal-coated polyester that is not specifically intended for solar observation, smoked glass, floppy disk media, black colour transparency (slide) film, floppy disk media, and compact disks (because of the inconsistent quality of the metal coating).”
- NASA’s eclipse website http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SEgoogle/SEgoogle2001/SE2012May20Agoogle.html
- A series of detailed maps for this eclipse created by Michael Zeiler http://eclipse-maps.com/Eclipse-Maps/Gallery/Pages/Annular_solar_eclipse_of_2012_May_20.html
- Animation of the partial solar eclipse in Manila http://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/in/philippines/manila
For those who won’t be able to observe the eclipse from their location, you may still watch via live webstreaming of the event.
- SLOOH Space Camera