A rare annular solar eclipse will occur on Sunday, temporarily darkening the sky above Berkeley in the early evening.
During the eclipse, the moon will obscure most of the sun, creating a “ring of fire” effect as the sun’s outer ring — or “annulus” — remains visible behind the moon’s silhouette.
According to NASA’s Google Map of the solar eclipse’s path, Northern California will offer the best vantage point for the eclipse. Cities like Redding and Eureka should have particularly good views as the moon will appear more centrally positioned in front of the sun.
In Berkeley, the view will not be quite as perfect. The moon will be slightly off center, creating more of a “C” shape.
The ideal times to view the eclipse from Berkeley will occur around 6:30 p.m. The eclipse should last a little less than 5 minutes.
The forecast for Sunday in Berkeley looks fairly clear, although clouds can always be an issue at this time of year for astronomy enthusiasts in the Bay Area.
According to UC Berkeley Astronomy Professor Alex Filippenko, annular solar eclipses occur somewhere on Earth roughly once every one-and-a-half years. However, only 1 to 2 percent of the Earth can view the annular part of the eclipse, making it rare for a given location to be able to view the full “ring of fire” effect.
“A typical location on Earth generally needs to wait a few hundred years between consecutive annular solar eclipses,” said Filippenko.
Remember, it’s not safe to view a solar eclipse with the naked eye! Rather than sustain permanent retinal damage by looking directly at the sun, Filippenko advises using specially-made glass or other tricks to view the eclipse.
“Use Shade 14 glass, or approved solar eclipse viewing glasses that can be purchased online,” he said. “You can also make a simple “pinhole camera” by punching a hole in a large sheet of cardboard. Face the cardboard toward the Sun so the cardboard casts a shadow on the ground or a blank sheet. Within the shadow will be an image of the eclipsed Sun.”
Adelyn Baxter is the news editor.
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