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The Minor Solar Eclipse of Monday 10 June 2002

As seen from Kalamazoo and West Michigan

WARNING: I don't care if it IS sunset


There is a lot of lore about using green glass, brown glass, strips of old film, welder's goggles. Trust Dr. Phil. If you don't know what you're doing, then you cannot trust any of these "home remedy" solar eclipse viewing systems to protect your eye from (a) the brightness and (b) the UV rays of the sun. You do NOT want to sunburn the inside of your eyeballs! (It is as horrible as it sounds.)

It's a Big Deal

Nothing triggers excitement in the sky like a Solar Eclipse. I have never seen a Total Solar Eclipse, though we did have a decent Total Annular Solar Eclipse here back on Tuesday10 May 1994. Even that was only 91% and off-center (maximum centered Total Annular Solar Eclipse was in Ohio).

The next BIG Solar Eclipse is 21 August 2017 for North America. It won't be total here in West Michigan, and I'm not sure if it will be total in the continental United States (my Eclipse Finder just percent totality for specific locations -- I got up to 96% for Evansville, Indiana).


We get a little taste of an eclipse here, starting before the sun sets and finishing after... It's only 27% coverage, so you won't notice a dramatic darkness in the middle of the day. (It's getting darker because the sun is setting! So it ain't the middle of the day, either...) The Moon, which will be cutting across the bottom of the Sun, sets at 9:12pm -- the Sun sets six minutes later at 9:18pm EDT.

Partial Solar Eclipse June 10th

How to View:

Make yourself a pinhole shadown eclipse viewer. All you need is one index card with a small hole punched in it and a second card (or piece of paper) to project the light onto. The closer the two cards are, the brighter (but smaller) the image will appear.

Pinhole Method for Viewing Solar Eclipse

  1. Light from the Sun is...
  2. ... partly blocked by New Moon and...
  3. ... falls onto an index card...
  4. ... which has a pinhole punched in it.
  5. The light rays continue on and fall onto another card or sheet of paper...
  6. ... where the image shows an upside down Sun with "a bite taken out of it" at the top.

I don't care if this method isn't sexy. Indirect viewing by means of a pinhole is the only truly safe method of looking at a Solar Eclipse without spending $$$ or knowing what you're doing.


Let the light go through the pinhole and fall onto a card or a piece of paper.

And of course all this depends on our lovely West Michigan Weather co-operating.

Kalamazoo Weather Forecast

Dr. Phil's Improved Pinhole Viewer:

Dr. Phil's Improved Pinhole Viewer for Solar Eclipses

You need: Two index cards, a small square of aluminum foil, some Scotch tape.

Tools: A sharp knife such as an X-acto knife (scissors will do in a pinch), and one small pin.

  1. Cut holes in both index cards, roughly the same size, roughly the same place on the card.
  2. Cut your piece of aluminum foil so that it covers one of the holes.
  3. Tape the foil down to the first card. Use as much tape as you want, but keep the area over the hole free.
  4. Put the second card on top of the first card, sandwiching the foil in between.
  5. Tape around the edges of your card sandwich.
  6. Use tape around the edge of the hole, so the foil is held securely to the card. Do this to both cards, making sure to leave the center part of the foil clear.
  7. Put your card and foil sandwich on top of something a bit soft, like the cover of a phone book.
  8. Take your sharp pin and carefully poke a small hole in the center of the foil. You don't have to drive the pin all the way through. Remember, it is easy to make the hole bigger, but if it is too big, you have to cover up the hole and start in a fresh spot. Or start over.
  9. Turn the card over and carefully push down any rough edges around the hole. You can put a piece of card or paper between your finger and the hole.
  10. Stick the tip of the pin gently back into the hole and twirl it slightly to try to make it circular.

By using a piece of thin metal foil for the pinhole, instead of the index card, the hole can be made SMALLER, CLEANER and THINNER, all of which improve the image.

Dr. Phil does not recommend trying to take pictures directly of a solar eclipse, unless you know how and have the proper equipment. You don't want to burn a hole in your shutter (conventional film camera) or burn out your imaging sensor (digital camera).

Associated Lunar Eclipses

It is a well-known fact that there are usually, if not two, Lunar Eclipses associated with the Full Moons on either side of a Solar Eclipse. Makes sense, because (a) to have a Solar Eclipse the Moon's path in the sky has to intersect the Sun and (b) to have a Lunar Eclipse, the Moon's path has to be aligned to intersect the shadow of the Earth from the Sun. The kicker is that the Earth's shadow is bigger than the Moon, so there is so more slop.

And in fact there was a very minor Lunar Eclipse on May 26th, but we couldn't see it here in Kalamazoo because it peaked at 8 am -- and because the Sun was well above the horizon, you couldn't possibly have seen the Full Moon in shadow. There's a little bit better one on June 24th, but if you were to check the times carefully, you'd find out that, again, the Full Moon doesn't rise until 9:30 pm. So no joy.

But we do get a Partial Lunar Eclipse all evening until midnight on 19 November 2002. And we get a good Total Lunar Eclipse on 15 May 2003. So stay tuned!

Last Update: 06/09/2002