Photographing an Annual EclipseBy Frank Zullo
A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes directly between the Earth and sun. If the moon is close enough, we are treated to a spectacular total eclipse revealing the corona and solar flares. However, if the moon is at a farther point of its orbit, as it will be during the May 20 event, it is not big enough to completely blot out the sun. At maximum eclipse a thin ring (annulus) of blinding light remains. The image above is from the May 10, 1994 annular eclipse I photographed in El Paso. That centerline narrowly missed the far southeastern corner of Arizona, but now 18 years later, a solar eclipse centerline will finally pass over our state. I say finally because the last time we saw one was back in August 27, 1821.
This will be a late afternoon eclipse. First contact for Arizona should be a few minutes either side of 5:30 PM MST with the sun about a quarter way up the western sky. Maximum eclipse will be a little more than an hour later and the show will end when the sun sets behind the horizon to the WNW. To find your local details, go to the May 20 eclipse page on the NASA Eclipse Website. You will see a map window with eclipse path. Navigate to Arizona and zoom in as much as you want. Clicking on the map brings up a window showing the times of all eclipse phases visible from that location. All times are based on a 24-hour, Universal Time (UT) clock. Subtract 7 hours to get Arizona Time (MST) or 6 hours if you go by Daylight Saving Time (MDT) used on the Navajo Reservation where the centerline mostly lies. The information window also includes the sun's altitude and azimuth for each eclipse phase. … [more]