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Eclipse of the Sun on Jan 15th

Hi everyone, something exciting is  about to happen!!!

A solar eclipse will be visible across the middle of Kenya at about 8:20 am on January 15. This exciting event happens when the moon passes directly between the earth and sun, blocking out the sun’s light.

On January 15, the moon will be relatively far from the earth. It will not fully cover the sun’s face. When the moon is directly between the earth and the sun, there will be a ring of light around the dark moon. This is called an Annular eclipse, meaning a ring.

The path of the Annular Solar Eclipse passes through Busia, Mumias, Kakamega, near Eldama Ravine, Mogotio and Nakuru, to Kiganjo, Nyeri, Embu and the dry lands to the east. The eclipse begins around 7 am, and the annular effect is at about 8:20 to 8:30 am. These two images of the Eclipse route are on the NASA website.


Permanent eye damage can result from looking at the disk of the Sun directly, or through a camera viewfinder, or with binoculars or a telescope even when only a thin crescent of the Sun or Baily’s Beads remain. The 1 percent of the Sun’s surface still visible is about 10,000 times brighter than the full moon. Staring at the Sun under such circumstances is like using a magnifying glass to focus sunlight onto tinder. The retina is delicate and irreplaceable. There is little or nothing a retinal surgeon will be able to do to help you. Never look at the Sun outside of the total phase of an eclipse unless you have adequate eye protection.

Once the Sun is entirely eclipsed, however, its bright surface is hidden from view and it is completely safe to look directly at the totally eclipsed Sun without any filters. In fact, it is one of the greatest sights in nature.

Don’t commit eye suicide

The sun’s light is so powerful that it will not get dark as it does during a total eclipse of the sun.  An annular eclipse is best seen with special equipment. Do not look directly at the sun! It will damage your eyes. Dark glasses or ordinary photographic film will NOT protect you.

Make a Pinhole Projection

One safe way of enjoying the Sun during a partial eclipse–or anytime–is a “pinhole camera,” which allows you to view a projected image of the Sun. There are fancy pinhole cameras you can make out of cardboard boxes, but a perfectly adequate (and portable) version can be made out of two thin but stiff pieces of white cardboard. Punch a small clean pinhole in one piece of cardboard and let the sunlight fall through that hole onto the second piece of cardboard, which serves as a screen, held below it. An inverted image of the Sun is formed. To make the image larger, move the screen farther from the pinhole. To make the image brighter, move the screen closer to the pinhole. Do not make the pinhole wide or you will only have a shaft of sunlight rather than an image of the crescent Sun. Remember, this instrument is used with your back to the Sun. The sunlight passes over your shoulder, through the pinhole, and forms an image on the cardboard screen beneath it. Do not look through the pinhole at the Sun.

Look at shadows
All of Kenya will experience a partial eclipse, and we can observe it indirectly. Look at the dappled shade under trees. Each spot of light will become a crescent. (The round spots of light on the ground below leafy trees, or under sheds with tiny holes in the roof, are images of the sun.)

View using welding goggles
Camera film, sunglasses etc will not work. But heavy duty welding goggles
This announcement is thanks to Catherine Ngarachu,  Nature Kenya, the East Africa Natural History Society

January 12, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

1 Comment »

  1. […] You can’t afford to damage your eyes while watching the awesome solar eclipse tomorrow. Buy a pair of welding glasses (Ksh 200 at most hard ware stores – test them first by looking around and towards the sun – it should be very dark glass) or follow these tips […]

    Pingback by Solar Eclipse here we come « Wild About Africa | January 14, 2010 | Reply

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