How to view Sunday's solar eclipse

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by PETE DELKUS

WFAA

Posted on May 19, 2012 at 10:53 AM

Updated Sunday, May 20 at 6:30 PM

It's been almost 18 years since we've had a chance to witness a solar eclipse in the United States.

This Sunday, we'll be treated to an "annular" eclipse, one of four varieties (the others being "partial," "total" and "hybrid").

An annular eclipse is similar to a total eclipse in that the moon lines up with the sun dead-on, but in this case, the moon is at its most distant point in its earth orbit, so its disc won't completely cover the star at the center of our solar system.

As a result, a blaze of bright sunlight will continue to shine around the moon's circumference.

In North Texas, we won't see the totality of this annular eclipse because the Sun will have set by the time the moon is centered in front of the sun.

Lubbock, in West Texas, is a good spot to get the full impact. Viewers in that city will see the moon begin to transit the sun's disc at 7:31 p.m. The period of maximum coverage will begin at 8:36, lasting for more than four minutes.

The best viewing time in North Texas will be in the western sky right at sunset on Sunday, about 8:21 p.m. You'll see the moon covering 67 percent of the sun in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

This is important: Never look directly at the sun with the naked eye or using a telescope or binoculars without adequate eye protection. A # 14 welder's glass or a solar filter can be used.

The next total solar eclipse in the United States is still five years away, and it will be October 2023 until the next annular eclipse over America.

 E-mail pdelkus@wfaa.com

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