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The Trickle - solar eclipse

May 17, 2012 - Brian Ferry
This weekend, Sunday, May 20, there will be a solar eclipse. That's when the moon is directly between some portion of earth and the sun. According to my calculations (based on NASA data listed in universal time), people in Buffalo will be able to see the eclipse for about 35 seconds at 7:20 p.m. That's close to sunset, so people looking west at a hillside will be out of luck. The moon is near its farthest distance from earth, so the sun will appear slightly larger than the moon, resulting in a ring of fire around the moon. Experts in many fields caution people not to look directly at the sun due to the potential for eye injury. That potential exists during an eclipse and, because people are tempted to look at the sun and it's not as bright as usual during an eclipse, the dangers are often greater. Pinhole cameras seem to be the chief suggestion for viewing the sun as it appears during an eclipse. As long as you don't look through your camera to set up the shot (even worse for your eyes as the glass focuses the sun like a magnifying glass) or leave the shutter open for a long time, photography is possible. Some say shooting the sun can hurt your camera, so I won't suggest it.


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