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Science and the Environment

Viewing the Final Solar Eclipse of 2014

Riyaz Ahamed
Creative Commons

Thursday marks the final partial solar eclipse of 2014.  As KSMU’s Simone Cook reports, solar eclipses of any kind in this area are considered to be rare and can be quite a treat for any space enthusiast. 

Dr. Michael Reed is professor of astronomy at Missouri State University.

“We haven’t even had a partial solar eclipse here, since the 1990’s, and even that was just a partial, not a total.  And then we will have a total eclipse here in 2017.  So a partial solar eclipse usually happens somewhere every one or two years, but to have one actually in Missouri is pretty rare,” Reed said.

Reed says that astronomers are able to predict when solar eclipses will occur by understanding both the path of the moon as well as the timing of the moon in its orbit.

Since this is just a partial eclipse, only a small amount of the sun will be covered, and should have no interruptions for daily life.

“Now here [in Missouri] the moon is only going to cover about 40 percent [of the sun], so the daylight will still be daylight.”

In honor of the occurrence, the Missouri State Department of Astronomy will hold an event on top of the Bear Park South parking garage, at the corner of Grant and Holland. It’ll include numerous telescopes equipped with solar filters for the public to view the eclipse, from 4:30 p.m. to about sunset.

For those not viewing through the filtered telescopes, specialized filtered glasses are strongly advised, for it could be damaging to your eyes.

“Yes, don’t look at the sun.  It will be very bright, the moon is only covering a small part of the sun, so most of the sun is still there and is very bright.”

For more information on the event and additional details on the eclipse call the Department of Physics, Astronomy, and Materials Science at 417-836-5131.