Solar Eclipse Oct 2014

Partial Solar Eclipse

Partial Solar Eclipse

Great News!  Thursday October 23rd a partial Solar Eclipse will occur and it will be very visible form Seattle.  Starting at 1:35PM PDT the Moon will cross into the path of the sun and begin the form a partial Solar Eclipse.  The Eclipse maximum will occur at 3:00PM PDT and 54.5% of the sun will be obscured by the Moon. At 4:10PM PDT the eclipse will end.

If you want to view the Eclipse life from one of the telescopes in the Polar Region, we suggest you connect on Thursday, October 23rd, starting at 2:00PM PDT to the following link.

Viewing the Eclipse

Viewing the eclipse is relatively easy if you follow a couple of simple steps to make a safe and simple eclipse viewer.  But first:


Building a simple eclipse viewer

Building a simple viewer used the principals of the camera obscura. To do so, you will need:

  • Some card board – to make two squared of about 12″x12″
  • One sheet of standard 8.5″x11″ of white paper
  • Some aluminum foil – about 5″x5″
  • Small needle, thumb tag or similar
  • Some tape

Building Steps

  1. On one of the squares of cardboard cut a small square hole in the center – about 4″x4″ (Slide 3)
  2. Tape a piece of aluminum oil over the hole you just cute, making sure it is fully cover with foil (Slide 3)
  3. Tape the sheet of 8.5″x11″ white paper on the other square of cardboard – this will be you your viewing reflector (Slide 4)
  4. Prick a very small pinhole in the center of the aluminum foil on the first cardboard square you made – this will be your focusing lens (Slide 5)

Note: Slide number refers to slides in the downloadable file below called Viewer Instructions.

Using your viewer

To use the viewer it is easiest if you have two people, but one person can with a bit of practice get a great picture as well.  This is how you will use your just build viewer.

  1. As a start put the viewing reflector ( the square with the with paper on it) on the ground, with the white piece of paper facing up.
  2. Next take the square with the aluminum foil (the focusing lens) and with the aluminum facing the sun position it so that the it is lined up with the sun, and in line with the square you positioned on the floor in step 1.  You should now see a small bright circle reflected on the reflector (white sheet of paper) – this is the sun!
  3. Now experiment with angle and distance between the lens and the reflector to increase the size of the image and the sharpness of the image.  This is where you may need a second person who can tip the reflector slightly under an angle, so you have a perfect alignment.

You should now be looking at the reflector and see the eclipse slowly occurring, a portion of the Sun will start to get obscured by a darker part – the moon traveling into the sun’s path.