By Nikki Garrett Metzger
(Victor Valley)- – Did you see it? Did you go outside and watch this rare site? If so, hopefully you did it safely.
It was the annular solar eclipse. It was visible in the Victor Valley and all of Southern California starting around 5:30pm, peaking around 6:40pm, and clearing up by sunset.
LiveScience.com explains that an annular solar eclipse occurs when the moon is at or near the farthest point on its non-circular orbit around Earth, and so it’s too small in the sky to completely cover the sun. The result is akin to a black dime in front of a shiny penny, with the sun (the penny) still visible around the dime (the moon) in a “ring of fire” effect. For those that were in the path, this was a once-in-a-lifetime amazing celestial event.
The event was visible from Asia and the western United States. Here in the High Desert the sun was about 80% covered by the moon, making a “U” shape during the peak of the eclipse.
An eclipse cannot be viewed with the naked eye or even sunglasses. Prior to the event doctors and education officials warned of eye injuries from improper viewing. A fraction of a second of magnified, unfiltered sunlight will sear your eye’s retina irreparably. It’s like a sunburn, but your eyes cannot recover from it.
There are amazing photos floating around of the eclipse. The following were taken in Victorville by Richard Schemers, “These were taken using a 200mm lens and a variable Neutral Density filter set to ND-400 (darkest setting). I still needed to use the smallest aperture with the fastest shutter to keep from blowing-out the exposure!”