Solar Eclipse Visible Today

April 8, 2005

THE year’s first solar eclipse takesplace this afternoon and will be visiblethroughout Costa Rica.An annular effect, in which the moonappears centered like a bull’s eye in thesun’s sphere, will appear at 4:09 p.m.over Punta Banco in a remote area ofsouthwest Costa Rica near thePanamanian border (TT, April 1).The rest of the country will see a partialeclipse from 2:52-5:18 p.m. Peakeffect and maximum darkness (94 percentof the sun’s sphere covered) will takeplace at 4:10 p.m.Experts caution against looking directlyat the phenomenon, citing the risk of macularburning, sometimes irreversible, to theeyes. The safest method of viewing theeclipse, other than watching it on television,is an indirect projection technique.Cut a 5-mm hole in a piece of cardboardand view the skewed shadow cast onthe ground. Another similar means is toview the skewed light cast on the ground asit filters through the leaves of a tree.

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