Partial Solar Eclipse visible from Tasmania this Friday

November 22, 2011 | By | Add a Comment
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A partial solar eclipse will be observable this Friday from the southern tip of Tasmania using safe solar viewing techniques between approximately 6.32pm and 7.06pm Australian Eastern Daylight Savings Time (25 November 2011). Maximum eclipse is at 6.49 pm.

A partial Solar Eclipse will be visible from the Southern tip of Australia on Friday 25 November 2011. This image shows how the Sun will appear from Hobart at 6.50 pm Summer Time. Note that it is not safe to directly look at the Sun without specialist solar filters.

The safest way of observing the eclipse would be to use some form of image projection method. This could be a pinhole in a piece of paper (although with the eclipse being so partial I am not sure this will work) or using a pair of binoculars or a telescope. The image is then projected onto a white piece of paper for the sharpest view. Keep in mind that using binoculars or a telescope for this should only be done for a very brief period of time and preferably with a cheap pair you don’t mind throwing away. There will a enormous amount of heat concentrated on the eyepiece. Modern eyepieces use glue to hold the different pieces of glue together which will be ‘cooked’ by the heat directed on it. Do so too long and you can expect the eyepiece to crack!

Warning! Do not look directly at the partially eclipsed sun. The danger lies not so much with the brightness of the Sun but with the enormous amount of ultraviolet radiation it gives out. Lots of ultraviolet radiation equals cataracts and blindness. Also never be tempted to look through binoculars or a telescope at the Sun NOT equipped with a specialist solar filter for the same reasons. You also don’t want cooked eyes (see the previous paragraph for my comment on eyepieces cracking)!

Solar eclipses occur when the Moon briefly passes directly between the Earth and the Sun. If you happen to be on the right part of the Earth’s surface, (with safe viewing techniques) you will be able to see part or all of the Sun blocked from view. You can either have total solar eclipses (where all of the Sun is blocked from view) or a partial solar eclipse (where only part of the Sun is blocked from view). The ideal place to view Friday’s partial solar eclipse would be Antarctica where almost all of the Sun will be blocked from view. Further information about the eclipse can be found on NASA’s Eclipse Website.

As an aside, there will be a total lunar eclipse visible on the night of 10/11 December 2011 across Australia. More on that in an upcoming blog post.

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This website is maintained by Paul Floyd. I am an amateur astronomer (and school teacher) with 25 years experience (as at 2015) in running a range of education and public astronomy outreach activities. As of January 2015, I have been providing astronomy information via the WWW for eighteen years.