19 May 2012

Ring of Fire

We should get a good look at tomorrow's annular eclipse. Annulus (or anulus) is Latin for ring. With the moon at apogee, the apparent size of the disk will not entirely block the sun, thus giving viewers in the path of annularity a chance to see the "ring of fire." Here in Yreka I expect to enjoy it in my back yard. The State if Jefferson, in fact, is the place to be to experience the event. Sky & Telescope lists the duration times for both Medford, Oregon, fifty miles north (2m 46s), and Redding, California, 100 miles south (4m 35s), so I think we are in the right spot. The National Weather Service gives me "mostly sunny" as the daytime forecast and "partly cloudy" for the evening. The maximum eclipse predicted for Medford is at 6:25:56 PDT and for Redding at 6:28:38, so the sun will still be well up in the western sky. I've prepared a big pinhole box projector (from the Dell box my computer came in) which gives me a solar image of about one centimeter in diameter. I also have some mylar eclipse glasses for direct viewing. Toss some steak and veggies on the BBQ, drink some beer, kick back on the patio, and look west is the plan for Sunday afternoon. I hope you get to enjoy this unique opportunity as well!

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