|The partial phase of the annular (the Latin word for "little ring") solar eclipse will be the first such event visible in Minnesota for nearly ten years. In June of 2002, Minnesotans witnessed a partial solar eclipse where 30 percent of the sun was covered. On May 20th this year, at the eclipse maximum, we will witness 68% the sun eclipsed.
This eclipse is actually a Total Annular Eclipse, with the central line of the eclipse crossing the globe from southeast China, Japan across the Pacific Ocean and ending in the southwest United States. Annularity, the maximum phase of an annular eclipse, is when the Moon's entire disk is seen silhouetted against the Sun and shows a “ring of fire” around the moon. This is the period between second and third contact and lasts from a fraction of a second to a maximum of 12 minutes 29 seconds.
If you want to see the total annular phase, you simply need to travel to the path of annularity. In the US, the path will stretch from northern California to western Texas (see map below), or click this link for an interactive map from NASA.
Additional information can be found on the Eclipse Chasers or the StarDate website links.
At the Onan Observatory we will be having a Public Star Party for viewing the eclipse. The observatory will open at 7:00 pm. From Baylor Park, the eclipse begins with “first contact” at 7:20 pm. The sun will set at 8:40 with the eclipse just past the midpoint. After sunset, we will keep the observatory open for those wishing to stay for stargazing. Visit the Onan Observatory website and follow the links for additional information on the eclipse and other events at the Onan Observatory.
CAUTION: Whenever viewing the sun, viewing safety is paramount.
NEVER attempt to observe the partial or annular phases of any eclipse with the naked eye.
NEVER use an unfiltered telescope or binoculars to view the sun.
NEVER use a damaged solar filter or damaged solar eyeglasses to view the sun.
NEVER look through an unfiltered camera to view the sun.
NEVER look through the "pinhole"of a "Projection Box" to view the sun.
And an oldie but a goodie, NEVER look through a photo negative to view the sun.
Failure to use appropriate filtration may result in permanent eye damage or blindness!
To view the eclipse, look through dark welder’s glass, or build a projection box by poking a pinhole in the side of a cardboard box and watching the sunlight projected inside the box. For a small donation, we will have special “eclipse glasses” available at the observatory as well.
Click the following link for additional tips on Safely Viewing the Eclipse.
Path of Annularity
|Schedule of Events
|Sunday May 20, 2012 - The observatory will open at 7:00 pm, the eclipse begins at 7:20 local time.This is a fair weather event and will be CANCELLED if it is cloudy. If sky conditions are questionable, check the MAS homepage for the latest information.
What to expect: The eclipse is expected to be a popular event for the public to view at Onan Observatory. Please plan ahead, the traffic and parking might be congested as we are expecting more than 300 visitors for this event. Please plan to arrive early as you may need to walk a distance to get to the observatory. The eclipse will only last for about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Try to get there early and be patient, as the lines could be long. We strongly recommend arriving no later than 8:00 pm to have the best chance to see the event.
Bringing your our scope? We expect dozens of MAS members and non-members will want to bring their own scopes. There is ample room near the observatory and throughout the park for you to do so. Be sure to have a proper solar filter securely attached to your scope. If you bring your scope, please do not leave it unattended or without a proper solar filter.
Viewing Safety: To observe the eclipse directly you must protect your eyes at all times with proper solar filters. The observatory has many telescopes with solar filters as well as scopes dedicated to solar viewing. We will also have several solar “projection” methods to view the eclipse indirectly. Information on proper solar filters and projection methods can be found HERE.
What if it’s cloudy? This is a "Fair Weather" event that will be CANCELLED if cloudy. If sky conditions are questionable, check the MAS homepage for the latest information.
Location: If you haven’t been to Baylor Park or the Onan Observatory, we are located about 45 minutes southwest of Minneapolis,three miles north of Norwood-Young America, MN. Directions and map can be found HERE or by clicking the ''Directions'' link in the left hand column.
Handicap Parking: : There are a limited number of handicap parking spaces near the observatory. At the very least we will see that the driveway is clear for those who need it to be dropped off at the observatory door.
Questions? : If you have questions about the transit event, send us an email at Info@MnAstro.org
You can also post your questions on the MAS Discussion Forums MAS Discussion Forums or follow the latest discussions. Last minute info would also be posted on the MAS home page at www.mnastro.org