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Observatory opens Sunday for viewing of "ring of fire" partial solar eclipse

May 17, 2012
KOKOMO, Ind. — A partial solar eclipse will entertain the sky this Sunday (May 20) evening, and the Observatory at Indiana University Kokomo will provide a bird's eye view to the public.

IMG_7256The Observatory

Patrick Motl, assistant professor of physics, said the eclipse should begin shortly before sunset, around 8:20 p.m. The Observatory, 105 E. Rebecca Lane, will be open from 7 to 10 p.m. Motl said stargazers should be able to view Saturn when the sky is darker. There is no admission fee.

"People in the western two-thirds of North America will see the moon pass in front of the sun, creating a partial solar eclipse low in the western sky," Motl said.

Those watching from the southwest will see a rare annular eclipse, in which the moon appears entirely within the sun's disk, also describe as a "ring of fire."

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon gets directly between Earth and the sun. Sunday's event will be a partial solar eclipse across most of the United States and Canada, and a more compelling annular solar eclipse for a narrow swath of residents in the West and Southwest. The sun sets before any of it will be visible from the East Coast, however.

The Observatory features two telescopes mounted together – a six-inch Takahashi refracting telescope and a 16-inch Meade reflecting telescope. The Takahashi provides exceptionally sharp images of planets, while the Meade lets stargazers see fainter objects in the sky, due to its larger light collecting area.

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

Last updated: 01/06/2015