DENVER — The skies will be clear for perfect viewing the partial solar eclipse that will be visible in Colorado on Thursday afternoon. But the biggest no-no is to look directly at the sun to see the eclipse.
The eclipse will begin at 3:18 p.m., reach its maximum about 4:35 p.m. and be over by 5:44 p.m. In the Denver metro area, about 55 percent of the sun will be eclipsed by the moon.
NASA’s advice is: “Don’t stare. Even at maximum eclipse, a sliver of sun peeking out from behind the moon can still cause pain and eye damage. Direct viewing should only be attempted with the aid of a safe solar filter.”
There are old tricks to view the eclipse indirectly, including punching a hole in cardboard and projecting the light through it onto a surface away from the sun.
Or let a tree do the work.
“Overlapping leaves create a myriad of natural little pinhole cameras, each one casting an image of the crescent-sun onto the ground beneath the canopy,” NASA says.
The Fiske Planetarium on the University of Colorado campus in Boulder will have eclipse viewing on Thursday afternoon. It also has several special solar filters that are available for $5.
The Denver Astronomical Society will be at the University of Denver’s Chamberlin Observatory from 3 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. Solar scopes will be set up next to the observatory and safe filets will be available.
Or, the best way to see the eclipse will be online, at EarthSky.org.
The next solar eclipse in North America will be in Aug. 21, 2017, and it will be more dramatic because it will be a rare total eclipse.