Annular Solar Eclipse
December 14, 2001
A solar eclipse occurs when the moon is positioned between the sun and the Earth. The moon then casts a shadow on the Earth's surface, and also obscures the solar disk.
During a total eclipse, the moon's dark inner shadow, called the umbra, strikes the Earth. During a partial eclipse, only the fainter outer shadow, called the penumbra, strikes the Earth.
A full solar eclipse can cause brief, localized darkness, but during a partial eclipse, only a slight dimming of sunlight during maximum eclipse will be perceptible.
At maximum eclipse, the solar disk will resemble a cookie with a hearty bite taken out of one side.
Safe Eclipse Observing
This is a perfect opportunity to use that telescope you got for Christmas last year, as long as you make sure you have that that new solar filter in place for your viewing.
The American Optometric Association warns skywatchers not to look directly at the eclipsed sun. "Looking at the solar eclipse without proper protection can result in serious eye damage," the association warns in a statement. To view the eclipse, the experts recommend special equipment, such as a welder's lens, a pinhole camera, or other indirect viewing equipment.
Looking at the sun directly without proper protection is dangerous and can permanently damage your eyesight.
Observing the Partial Solar Eclipse of December 14, 2001
3:35 PM CST
3:55 PM CST
In the Trees: 4:05 PM CST
Eclipse images shot with an Olympus OM-1 camera using Kodak 100 print film. The camera was mounted on a Meade 2045 4-inch Schmitt-Cassegrain telescope equipped with a Thousand Oaks solar filter. 1/60-sec exposure. A 2x teleconverter was used to increase image size on the film.
The negatives were developed at the local Eckerds drugstore.
JPG images were scanned from the prints using an HP PhotoSmart scanner.
I took the above photo with my JVC camcorder in the still photo mode of the projections of the sun at maximum partial eclipse onto closet doors as the sunlight passed through the small openings along the edges of the closed slats in my bedroom window shutters.
We were very lucky to have the rain go away and clouds thin out during the Eclipse this noon. Ours was not as deep in Berkeley, CA as you had in Texas. But, I did manage to take a few photos (through my Pronto with the Olympus Digital 2000 camera) from my friend's garage, where I used to take my car to be fixed when I lived there. All the workers and some of their wives came out to observe the partial eclipse and copious sunspots. Many people had never seen either eclipse or sunspots through telescope. It was an unusual place to have an instant Eclipsing Star party.
I was particularly interested in the "Delphinus" cluster of sunspots!