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Tuesday, March 01, 2016


Partial Solar Eclipse March 9, 2016

Partial Eclipse, 10:17 am March 9 Partial Eclipse as seen from Darwin near maximum eclipse, 10:17 am AEST. Simulated in Stellarium.

On the morning of March 9, there will be a Solar eclipse. From Australia though, we only get to see a partial eclipse, and then only from northern Australia.

Viewers will see between 50% (Darwin) - 1% (Perth) of the Sun covered by the Moon, with northern Australia favoured (the opposite of last years annular eclipse). The partial solar eclipse occurs in the morning, but the sun will have well and truly risen by the time of the eclipse.
A table showing eclipse times for more Australian cities in Universal Time is here, and an interactive map of the path is here.

Do NOT look directly at the Sun! Do not use so called filters. Over exposed film, smoked glass etc. used as filters are NOT, repeat NOT safe. Only special solar-rated viewing spectacles from astronomical suppliers should be used (for one example see here), they may cost a bit, but your eyesight is without price. Never use eyepiece filters for telescopes. These can crack at inopportune times and destroy your eyesight. At no time is it safe to view the eclipse with the unaided eye.

The easiest and cheapest way to observe this event is by making a pinhole in a stiff square of cardboard and projecting the image of the Sun onto a flat surface. You are basically making a simple pinhole camera, which will reveal the changes to the Suns outline quite satisfactorily. A card with a 1 mm hole should be projected onto a surface (eg white paper, or a white wall) about 20 cm away, a 5 mm hole should be projected onto a surface 1 to 1.5 meters away.

You need to create a reasonable sized image, so you need a fair distance between the pinhole and the surface you project the image on. This will mean the image is going to be fairly dim, so you also need some sort of sun shield to keep in image in shadow. I use the longest available postpac postal tube, with alfoil over the top (and the pinhole in the alfoil), and wide ring of stiff cardboard to ensure that the image of the sun is projected into a dark area. This link will show you several methods to make pinhole projection systems.

 You can also use binocular and telescopic projection systems. This link will show you how to make safe solar viewing and telescope projection systems. Here is my step by step guide to making a binocular projection system, and a guide to aiming your binoculars or telescope when you can't actually look at the Sun. And this is the projection system I use with my refractor telescope.

Remember, do NOT look directly at the Sun, as irreparable eye damage or blindness can occur (see this video for a graphic demonstration).

City Eclipse Start Mid Eclipse Eclipse End % Sun covered
Alice Springs (ACST) 9:29 am 10:16 am 11:06 am 11
Broome (AWST) 7:32 am 8:32 am 9:37 37
Cairns (AEST) 10:12 am 11:12 am 12:15 18
Darwin (ACST) 9:07 am 10:17 am 5:28 am 4
Perth (AWST) 8:06 am 8:26 am 8:47 am 1
Rochampton (AEST) 10:55 am 11:16 am 11:38 1
Townsville (AEST) 10:21 am 11:12 am 12:05 10

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maglev&zipper for moon space elevator future
Live broadcasting of this eclipse (total eclipse) from Indonesia: http://www.iac.es/divulgacion.php?op1=16&id=1032&lang=en Use hashtag #stars4all to tweet about it, if you like :)
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