Tomorrow South Africans will be able to witness a partial annular solar eclipse.

An annular solar eclipse occurs when the outer edge of the Moon’s shadow is cast onto earth. The result, if you’re in the right place, is a ring of fire in the sky.

The movement of the moon and the sun suggests that most of Africa will be able to witness the eclipse, and here in South Africa we’ll be able to see a partial eclipse.

The eclipse will start at 08:13 tomorrow morning. The eclipse will reach its full state at 11:01 and annularity will last three minutes and six seconds according to Time and Date. The entire event will span three hours and six minutes.

As tempting as it may be to look to the sun to witness this cosmic event, we highly recommend not doing that. Instead there are a few ways you can safely observe the eclipse.

Welding goggles with a Shade 14 rating

NASA recommends welding goggles, and not just any welding goggles either. A minimum We’ve done a bit of work and unless you have welding goggles with a shade rating of 14 is a must to view an eclipse safely, the US space agency says.

Also, after the eclipse is over you can use them to recreate the most classic of classic ’80s movie scenes.

Pinhole projector

If you don’t have welding goggles, NASA’s advice is don’t look directly at the sun. Seriously. It rules out using pieces of paper, film, sunglasses or smoked glasses to protect your eyes. What it does recommend is a pinhole projector: this is probably going to be the easiest, and cheapest, way to watch the eclipse.

ll you will need is two sheets of stiff white cardboard (according to Time and Date paper plates will do) and a pin.

Take one sheet of cardboard and prick a smooth round hole in the centre. Turn so that your back is facing the sun and put the piece of cardboard with the hole over your shoulder.

Holding a second piece of paper at a distance should give you a screen that will show you what the eclipse looks like.

You can also use a pair of binoculars to get a similar effect. Simply cover one objective lens (the side you don’t put your eye to) with a cap and point the other objective lens at the sun. Using a piece of paper or the wall you should get a image of the eclipse much like you do with a pinhole projector.

So there you go. Happy sky gazing, and enjoy the sight tomorrow.

[Via – Time and Date] [Image – CC BY SA 2.0 mrhayata]