FORT PIERCE — “Eclipses of the sun and the moon are grand spectacles of nature,” says Jon U. Bell, Associate Professor of Astronomy and Director of the Hallstrom Planetarium. Director. “When they occur, it gives all of us an opportunity to be astronomers, because we can watch the phenomenon for ourselves, and make our own scientific observations. Nowhere else in our solar system do we find the happy arrangement as we have here on our planet Earth, where the moon and the sun appear to be exactly the same size. Because of this, the moon can, for a few brief minutes, completely block our view of the sun, turning day into night. This is truly an ‘out of this world’ experience!”
Free, safe guided viewing of the partial solar eclipse using protective filters will be conducted by the Treasure Coast Astronomical Society, Hallstrom Planetarium, and IRSC’s student astronomy club. The telescopes will be set up on the south side of the planetarium theater, on the sidewalk and in the #800 parking lot. In addition, observatory views of the eclipse will be projected on the interior planetarium dome.
The first “bite” will be taken out of the sun at around 11:55 a.m. as the moon begins to move in between the earth and the sun. For the next few hours, the bite will grow, until 65% of the sun’s disc is covered by the moon shortly after 1:00 p.m. Students and club members will have eclipse glasses to share. Guests also will be able to see the crescent shape of the sun projected onto the ground via the pinhole camera action of tree leaves. Safe solar projection telescopes and binoculars also will be available for watching the event.
*At no point will the sun be safe to view without a protective filter.
The eclipse will end at approximately is 3:07 p.m. The planetarium gift shop will be open and eclipse glasses will be available for $2.00 each, while supplies last.
While this is a partial eclipse here in Florida, people who are along a roughly 100-mile-wide band of the western and southwestern U.S. will be able to see it as an annular eclipse – there will be a ring of sunlight, an “annulus,” shining out from around the moon. Because the moon is near apogee, and being farther from the Earth than on average, it will appear a little smaller in the sky, and not be able to completely block out the solar disc.
For additional information about the eclipse viewing event, contact Planetarium Director Jon Bell at firstname.lastname@example.org, or TCAS President Dave Brown at email@example.com.