Slooh will broadcast a free, realtime view of the Annular Solar Eclipse from Australia. Viewers can capture a first look of the eclipse on Slooh.com Thursday, May 9th starting at 2:30 PM PDT / 5:30 PM EDT / 21:30 UTC (International times: http://goo.gl/7XNKX) as the Moon’s shadow begins its journey over Australia on its way to eastern Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, the Gilbert Islands, and finally over the Pacific Ocean. Viewers can watch live on their PC/MAC or by downloading the free Slooh iPad app in the iTunes store and touching the broadcast icon.
The Slooh broadcast team, along with Bob Berman, author of numerous astronomy books, and contributing editor and monthly columnist for Astronomy Magazine, will provide live commentary.
As a special treat, Slooh will broadcast an additional feed of the Sun from the Prescott Solar Observatory, a fantastic facility located in Arizona giving viewers a unique look of the Sun from the other side of the world.
The eclipse in Australia begins shortly after sunrise and makes its way over the Pacific ocean.
Because the Moon is very nearly at a point farthest from Earth, known as apogee, it appears too small to fully cover the Sun, leaving a thin ring of sunlight or “annulus” known as the Ring of Fire. The path of annularity will run between 171 to 225 kilometrewide (106 miles 140 miles) depending on location. Coincidentally, the path is very similar to the Total Solar Eclipse of 2012.
Partial phases of the eclipse are visible primarily from Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia and Hawaii.
Since most people cannot view the Annular Eclipse, Slooh will have live feeds from various locations. Slooh iPad app users can also collect images of the Annular Eclipse for their sky charts by simply commanding Sun missions on the day of the Annular Eclipse.
A note of caution: Slooh’s solar telescopes are equipped with special filters that block 99.999% of the Sun’s blindingly bright light. Do NOT look at the Sun yourself, even briefly, before, during, or after the eclipse. Except during the total phase of a total solar eclipse (the May 9th event is NOT a total eclipse), it is never safe to look at the Sun with or without optical aid without using specialpurpose solarviewing filters. Even welder’s goggles offer insufficient protection against potentially permanent eye injury unless they are shade 12 or 14.
“The precise line up or syzygy of the Sun, Moon, and Earth have intrigued primitive cultures for millennia,” said Bob Berman. “Here are the two most important and influential celestial bodies, so far as life on Earth is concerned, and on that day we can actually watch their clockwork motions. We observe firsthand as the Moon orbits around us at 2,250 miles per hour, showing off its speed as it centrally crosses the disk of the Sun. It’s pretty dramatic,” said Bob Berman.