Solar Eclipse 2012

I learned late Friday that there would be a Solar Eclipse today.  Although it wasn’t going to be a total eclipse, it sounded like it would be pretty close and I wanted to watch it.

Its been a while (high school!) since the last eclipse I was interested in watching, so I wasn’t exactly sure how to go about it anymore.  Initially, I set up a pinhole projector using a couple of note cards, some clamps, and the handle of a garden tool and found a place out in the yard with as much western sky available as possible — the eclipse began very late in the afternoon/evening, around 6:30pm, so trees, houses, or other buildings could easily get in the way and block our ability to watch it.

The projector worked out okay — meaning we could see an image of the sun and it being eclipsed, but it was a very small and faint image and wasn’t very photogenic.  Worse, as the eclipse progressed, the amount of available light dropped off, so the image projected by the pinhole became even more faint, to the point where it could hardly be seen. 

Somewhat disappointing.

Eventually I remembered we had a small pair of binoculars, so I re-rigged my projector, replacing the pinhole with one side of the binoculars and got a much better image!

The one on the right is what it looked like at the peak of the eclipse. Not a complete cover, so no ring of fire — from what I understand, the full eclipse was visible somewhere north of Flagstaff — but close enough for me!

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