Solar Eclipse Coming in April

January 21, 2005

THE year’s first solar eclipse is comingto Costa Rica on Friday, April 8.That afternoon will see a rare hybrideclipse here, so named because of thechanges in form it will take as it sweepsacross the Pacific Ocean from NewZealand to Central America. During muchof its route, it will appear as a totaleclipse in which the moon passes betweenthe earth and the sun and completelyblocks sight of the sun’s sphere.Along two sectors of its path, theeclipse will be annular, and appear as abull’s eye in the center of the sun, leavinga ring of light surrounding the moon. Thatwill be the case when the phenomenonpasses over Punta Banco, a remote area ofextreme southwestern Costa Rica at 4:09p.m. that day, according to scientists.The event will be visible as a routinepartial eclipse throughout Costa Ricafrom 2:52-5:18 p.m. The moon’s spherewill appear to take an ever-growing biteout of the sun, with peak effect (and maximumdarkness) occurring at 4:10 p.m.The Science and TechnologyFoundation (CIENTEC) is gearing up fora public awareness campaign, accordingto executive director Alejandra León, toeducate Costa Ricans about the dangersof looking at the eclipse with bare eyes,including possible retinal damage.Experts suggest the safest way toobserve the phenomenon is to punch a 5-mm. hole in a piece of cardboard andview the skewed shadow projected ontothe ground. Television will also broadcastthe event that day.CIENTEC will sell special filteredglasses that will offer proper protection forthe eyes. Call 233-7701 or log in towww.cientec.or.cr in coming weeks formore information.

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