An Annular Eclipse in May

Region of visibility for May's annular eclipse
The little crescents show how the Sun will look when most nearly covered (sometimes at sunrise) at the indicated places. (Click on the diagram to see a larger image.) In each case the crescent is correctly oriented for an observer facing the Sun with a safe solar filter. Elsewhere, observers can use the map’s plotted curves to estimate the fraction of the Sun’s diameter that will be covered (the magnitude) and the Universal Time of the eclipse’s start and finish at their location.
Sky & Telescope diagram.
On Saturday morning, May 31st, the Moon will pass directly between the Earth and Sun as seen from Iceland, northern Scotland, and part of Greenland. But the Moon’s angular size won’t be quite large enough to mask the Sun totally. Instead, skywatchers in these fairly remote locations will experience a brilliant ring of sunlight — the hallmark of an annular eclipse. Detailed predictions and weather prospects can be found on Fred Espenak’s Web site.

Elsewhere across Europe, as well as for parts of Asia and North America, the Moon will skim beside the Sun, taking no more than a "bite" out of its disk when viewed through a safe solar filter. The little crescents around our map (left) indicate what to expect. In the table below, the Sun's altitude (alt.) is given for the times of first and last contact. The eclipse magnitude (mag.), the percentage of the Sun’s diameter that will be covered by the Moon, is given for the time of maximum eclipse. Note that all times in the table are local civil times.
Observing and Photographing the Eclipse

annular eclipse
The annular eclipse of May 10, 1994, was seen along a narrow path across Mexico and the United States. This image was taken with an 8-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope from Ogunquit, Maine.
Sky & Telescope: Richard Tresch Fienberg.
Unless the Sun is quite low and appears dull red, don’t be tempted to squint at this dazzling spectacle. Direct viewing or photography, with or without a telescope, requires a safe solar filter available from any number of third-party suppliers. Place the filter so it intercepts sunlight before it enters the telescope’s sky end, not at the eyepiece, where it could crack or melt.Any combination of solar filter, telescope, and camera that works for sunspot photography can also record the silhouette of the Moon’s limb making its way across the disk. The same exposure time will apply, so you can run tests in the days leading up to the eclipse.Every bit as interesting as a lunar-eclipse sequence is one made of a solar eclipse in daytime. After exposing each solar image with the camera’s solar filter in place, wait until the Sun has moved out of the way, remove the filter, and make a final exposure of the foreground scene. The trick is to underexpose this last exposure by one or two f/stops, thus adding a beautiful, deep-blue sky.Sky & Telescope welcomes images of this eclipse (as well as the lunar eclipse of May 15–16) for possible publication. Just describe clearly what you did so it can be explained in a caption for the benefit of our readers.

Eclipse of the Sun, May 30/31, 2003

Reykjavik, Iceland -- -- 4:04 a.m. (annular) 5:01 a.m.   6°
Edinburgh, Scotland -- -- 4:43 a.m. 93% 5:40 a.m.   6°
London, England -- -- -- -- 5:32 a.m.   5°
Rome, Italy -- -- -- -- 6:10 a.m.   5°
Paris, France -- -- -- -- 6:26 a.m.   4°
Amsterdam, Neth. -- -- 5:33 a.m. 90% 6:30 a.m.   8°
Warsaw, Poland 4:27 a.m.   0° 5:24 a.m. 84% 6:24 a.m. 16°
Berlin, Germany -- -- 5:28 a.m. 87% 6:27 a.m. 12°
Stockholm, Sweden 4:38 a.m.   4° 5:36 a.m. 88% 6:38 a.m. 18°
Cairo, Egypt -- -- -- -- 6:38 a.m.   9°
Jerusalem, Israel -- -- 5:46 a.m. 53% 6:40 a.m. 12°
Istanbul, Turkey -- -- 6:03 a.m. 70% 7:01 a.m. 14°
Helsinki, Finland 5:37 a.m.   8° 6:37 a.m. 86% 7:40 a.m. 22°
Baghdad, Iraq -- -- 6:44 a.m. 49% 7:39 a.m. 20°
Moscow, Russia 6:24 a.m. 10° 7:25 a.m. 77% 8:30 a.m. 27°
Delhi, India 7:36 a.m. 27° 8:04 a.m.   7% 8:32 a.m. 39°
Anchorage, AK 8:31 p.m. 15° 9:28 p.m. 53% 10:21 p.m.   4°
Civil times of the eclipse are given throughout. The eclipse occurs on May 31st every-
where except Anchorage, Alaska, where this is an afternoon event on May 30th.        
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