How to Observe the Solar Eclipse of 2012 May 20

Having travelled to see six total solar eclipses, a partial or annular eclipse is merely interesting. Nevertheless, observing some motion in the dance of the Sun, Moon and Earth still does thrill. After an amazing stretch of clear weather, rain and cloud has moved in to blanket the Salish Sea, so we will not be able to witness today’s eclipse. Below are some great sites that are promising to live-stream the event on the Internet. First, here is my computer simulation of the eclipse at 6 PM PDT. I was surprised to find that the Sun and Moon will be very close to the Pleiades during the event — of course those stars would not be visible even if the sky were clear.

Simulation: The Moon eclipsing the Sun near the the Pleiades at 6 PM 2012-05-20

Simulation: From the Salish Sea,
The Moon eclipsing the Sun near the the Pleiades at 6 PM PDT 2012-05-20

The web version of Sky and Telescope Magazine has published a list of sites where you may watch the annular solar eclipse online. <<Click link to open Sky & Telescope page.

Some of these sites may not be paying for a large bandwidth for streaming, so it if the connection  you choose seems slow, try one of the others.

Standard warning and fine print: if you can observe this eclipse, be advised that there is no time today when it is safe to look directly at the Sun. There are methods for safe observing, but you risk instant blindness if you don’t know them. If you are using optics, you could damage your equipment as well. 

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