The best seats in the house for the April 28 "Ring of Fire" solar eclipse are reserved for a few penguins. Still, through the magic of modern technology, anyone with an Internet connection can catch a glimpse.
The "Ring of Fire" eclipse is named for the bright ring of sunlight that will appear around the Moon as it crosses the Sun. Because this eclipse occurs near the time when the Moon is furthest from the Earth in its orbit, the Moon's disk appears too small to cover the entire face of the Sun. Another name for this effect is an "Annular Solar Eclipse".
Though the maximum eclipse can only be seen from parts of Antarctica, a partial eclipse will still be visible throughout much of Australia. The best viewing conditions will be in Tasmania. Share a free sample Self-Empowerment Guide. How did the planets shape you? Discover the shocking details with our Self-Empowerment Guide!
Watching a solar eclipse directly may cause serious damage to eyesight. A safer alternative is to watch a projected image of the eclipse, either through a special pinhole camera, by using a mirror to bounce a reflection onto a surface, or through special eclipse-watching equipment purchased at a telescope store for this purpose. Local astronomy organizations, science museums or colleges may also have eclipse viewing parties scheduled.
Those living in other parts of the world will still have the chance to view the eclipse live online. Virtual Telescope Project (www.virtualtelescope.eu) or the Slooh Community Observatory (www.slooh.com) both offer live viewing of the eclipse on the internet. (Slooh also offers free tablet apps for easier viewing.) The eclipse begins at 8:53 pm Pacific time on April 28, and ends at 1:15 am April 29.
And, if you live in North America, mark your calendars! Your turn is coming soon. Two eclipses will be visible overhead this fall. Another Blood Moon total lunar eclipse occurs in the early morning hours of October 8, followed by a partial solar eclipse visible over northern and western parts of North America on October 23.
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