Get ready for a fantastic celestial event today as a partial eclipse will be visible this evening. The annular eclipse will be most visible in the Southwest United States and China, but we will still be able to see a partial eclipse here in Colorado.

When can you see the eclipse?

According to KDVR, we should be able to see it starting around 6:22pm this evening and ending as 8:09pm. (7:29pm is when we’ll get to see the ‘maximum eclipse’ visible here.)

CNN says the annular eclipse is “a rare event in which the sun will appear as a thin ring behind the moon.” This is the first one visible in the USA since 1994, and it won’t happen again until 2023.

One thing to remember though is DO NOT LOOK DIRECTLY AT THE SUN. To view the eclipse you need to look through special solar-filtered glasses or a properly filtered telescope. Regular sunglasses will not properly protect your eyes.

According to National Geographic,

To view the eclipse safely, astronomers recommend using either a professionally manufactured solar filter in front of a telescope or camera, or using eclipse viewing glasses that sufficiently reduce the sun's brightness and filter out damaging ultraviolet and infrared radiation. But probably the safest and easiest way to take in the eclipse is to use the pinhole projection method.

And the folks at Exploratorium have a quick tutorial on how to make our own pinhole projector here. They also explain why looking at the eclipse can be so dangerous.

As a kid, did you ever take a magnifying glass out into the sun and burn leaves? If so, you probably remember that when the focused sunlight coming through the lens was refracted and concentrated to a small spot, the energy available there was truly remarkable. Guess what? You have a lens just like that in your eye. If you look at the sun, your eye-lens will concentrate the sun's light and focus it to a very small spot on the back of your retina. This can cause permanent eye damage or blindness. Additionally, there are no pain sensors back there so you won't even know its happening!

Happy viewing tonight.

Picture from NASA Goddard Photo and Video, Flickr.