This Sunday everyone in the Northstate will have a spectacular view of the solar eclipse.

       Solar eclipses occur when the moon passes between the earth and sun, totally or partially obscuring the view of the sun.  They happen so rarely because the moon’s orbit is at a different angle than the earth’s orbit.  This will be the first annular eclipse in the continental US since May 1994.  An annular eclipse differs from a total eclipse because the size of the moon appears smaller than the sun leaving a distinct ring of fire.  Total eclipses recur at any given place on earth every 360 to 410 years.

      Many places in the area – including the Chico Community Observatory in Upper Bidwell Park, Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, and Turtle Bay Exploration Park – are holding special viewing parties as well as informational talks.  Each will have special glasses for safe viewing of the eclipse because looking directly at the sun for even a few seconds can be very damaging to your eyes.  You can also make your own safe viewing apparatus from a cardboard box.  Check out the Chico Enterprise Record’s article for instructions – http://www.chicoer.com/breakingnews/ci_20654924/what-you-might-want-know-about-solar-eclipse.

     The peak of the eclipse will be around 6:30 pm, but the moon will be partially covering the sun for one hour before and afterwards.  So grab your friends, family, and lawn chairs and enjoy this historic event!  Just remember to be safe and not took directly at the eclipse. 

Leanne