On Tuesday, April 29 at 0517 GMT, the moon will begin to eclipse the sun in the first of two total solar eclipses set to happen this year. When the moon is directly between the sun and the Earth, only the edges of the sun will be visible, resembling a “ring of fire.”
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The best view of the eclipse will be a small D-shaped 500 km2 region in Antarctica, though a partial eclipse will be visible to many Australians. Those living in Perth will see about 55% of the sun eclipsed, while those in Sydney will see about 50%.
Remember: staring at the sun is not a great idea. Trying to observe the eclipse through binoculars or a telescope without an appropriate solar filter will cause damage to the retina that cannot be fixed. Specialized solar eclipse glasses are available to make viewing the eclipse safer. If you don’t have time to get the proper protection, a pinhole camera can be used to view the eclipse safely. Punch a small hole into cardboard or heavy, dark paper and hold a piece of white paper under it. The eclipse will be nicely displayed, like this:
Image credit: Eugene Kim
If you do not live in an area where the eclipse will be visible, you don’t have to miss out! The Slooh Space Camera will be providing a live webcast of the event, no special eyewear necessary!
Until then, check out this simulation of what the eclipse is expected to look like at its maximum.