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Science File

Partial Eclipse Will Darken Area Sky

June 03, 2002|USHA LEE McFARLING | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A partial eclipse of the sun will be visible from Los Angeles--and most of North America--late in the afternoon of June 10. This will be the last solar eclipse visible from Los Angeles until 2012.

Solar eclipses occur when the moon passes between Earth and the sun.

During Monday's eclipse, the moon will eventually block 71% of the sun. The sky will darken noticeably but not dramatically.

The eclipse will begin at 5:13 p.m., reach its maximum at 6:22 and end by 7:23--half an hour before sunset.

It is not safe to look at the sun during a partial eclipse.

"The sun will still be one-quarter uneclipsed, and that's too bright," said John Mosley, an astronomer at Griffith Observatory.

Multiple telescopes will be set up for public viewing on the lawn of the observatory, he said.

The observatory building is closed for renovation, but the lawn will be open.

This will be the last public astronomical viewing event at the observatory until it reopens in 2005.

The eclipse can also be viewed safely through solar filters that are sold at astronomical and optical supply houses and some specialty stores.

As a backup, viewers can project the eclipse through binoculars onto a white card or piece of paper, Mosley said.

He warned against using expensive binoculars or letting them get too hot, as the lenses can become unglued.

People in a narrow path stretching across the Pacific Ocean from near Borneo to the western edge of Mexico will be able to see a rare annular, or ring, eclipse.

More information on the eclipse and an eclipse video are available at www.griffithobs.org/solar eclipse.html

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