Solar Eclipse 2012: Annular Eclipse Visible From California to Texas as Bright Ring Around Sun
If you live in a band across the southwestern United States, twilight will seem to come early on Sunday afternoon, well before the sun actually sets.
The cause: a rare annular solar eclipse — a ring of sunlight as the new moon, passing between Earth and the sun, blocks most, but not all, of the sun’s disc.
This is not the kind of total eclipse of which you usually see pictures — the moon blocking the sun completely, creating a few moments of near-night in the middle of the day, with only the sun’s ethereal corona visible around the moon’s edges. The sky will darken a bit, but there will still be a blindingly bright ring (an “annulus” in Latin) of sun, and it’s dangerous to look directly at it.
Still, there will be a striking sight to see, if you look at a heavily-filtered image projected onto a screen through binoculars or a small telescope, or protect your eyes with No. 14 arcwelders glass (not something found at most hardware stores).
The ring will be visible Sunday afternoon in a strip that begins on the California-Oregon coast and stretches southeastward across Reno, Nev., the Grand Canyon, and Albuquerque, N.M., and ends at sunset near Lubbock, Texas. In the map we’ve provided, the best viewing is in the yellow band; outside it, people will see a partial eclipse.