Palomar College Previews Sunday's Solar Eclipse

Eclipse To Begin Sunday At 5:27 PM, Will Reach Peak At 6:40 PM

As thousands gear up for Sunday's much anticipated solar eclipse, Palomar College gave 10News a sneak peek of what eclipse watchers can expect.

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People packed into the Palomar College planetarium on Friday night to get a glimpse of the solar eclipse that is set to occur Sunday evening.

Using the latest Digistar 4 technology, planetarium director Mark Lane simulated what the eclipse will look like in the San Diego sky just before sunset, as the eclipse begins Sunday evening at 5:27 p.m. and reaches its peak at 6:40 p.m.

If the skies remain clear in San Diego, the moon will block about 83 percent of the sun, making it look more like a crescent shape.

"If they want to make sure they have a prime place to go, perhaps go to the mountains," said Lane. "You don't have to go to the observatories in the mountains, just a nice place that's higher in elevation above the marine layer and gives you that great view of the western horizon."

Viewers watching along a path from northern California through Texas would witness an annular eclipse, which is when the entire sun is covered by the moon, except for its outer edge.

"To technically phrase it for here in San Diego, it is a deep partial eclipse but for various places in the U.S. it's an annular eclipse," said Lane.

Lane said watching Sunday's major eclipse takes some planning because you cannot look directly at the sun without damaging your eyes.

"For just a couple bucks... you can purchase these very inexpensive eclipse glasses," said Lane. "You can [also] simply take a piece of paper or cardboard and if you punch a hole through it and you just hold it up to the sun you actually project a really beautiful image of what's happening on another piece of paper."

Lane said the last time San Diego was in the direct annular eclipse viewing path was in 1992. The next time will not be until 2017.

Click here to learn more about how you can prepare for the solar eclipse.

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