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Local Astronomer Gives Tips on What to Look for During the Eclipse

Ellywa via Wikimedia Commons

A local astronomy group is preparing people for Monday’s total solar eclipse by offering tips for eclipse viewing. West Kentucky Amateur Astronomers Club outreach coordinator James Phfistner said people should watch for natural phenomena like shadow bands, tree leaf projections of the eclipse and the “diamond ring effect”.

“Seconds before real totality when the sun is totality blacked out by the moon you get this big flash of light that looks like a diamond ring,” Phfistner said.

Phistner said shadow bands or  “waves of light”  can be reflected on white surfaces like sheets of paper. He said people can also view projections of the eclipse through tree leaf shadows on the ground.

"Through the leaves, you actually see the sun looking like half moons,” he said.

Phistner said he has seen countless partial and annular eclipses, but the Great American eclipse will be his first time seeing a total eclipse.

The Astronomers’ Club will be at Golden Pond Planetarium and Observatory this weekend to help others practice solar viewing for the eclipse. Totality will last for 2 minutes and 13 seconds at Golden Pond.

Phfistner said the Great American Eclipse will be the first total eclipse to occur exclusively on U.S. soil since the nation’s creation.


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