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MEDIA ADVISORY: Solar Eclipse May 20

For Immediate Release:
March 27, 2012

Media Available
Jenny Slafkosky (415) 528-4367

MEDIA ADVISORY: Solar Eclipse May 20

Experts Available for Solar Eclipse May 20, 2012 @ 5:15 pm

WHAT:  San Francisco Bay area residents will see a partial solar eclipse and experience twilight earlier.

WHEN:  Sunday, May 20, 2012. The eclipse will begin at 5:15 pm (PDT), reaching maximum darkness at 6:32 pm, and end at 7:40 pm. The sun will set at 8:12 pm.

WHERE:  San Francisco will experience a partial solar eclipse.

West coast residents from north of Yuba City, California, to the Oregon state border will experience an annular eclipse, where they will see the moon with a ring of fire around it.  This happens because the diameter of the moon is slightly smaller than the diameter of the sun (from Earth's point of view) so the moon blocks out the sun, leaving only a ring (annulus) of sun around it. At its maximum, the moon will cover 90% of the sun.

WHO:  The following Exploratorium experts are available for media interviews and commentary:

  • Paul Doherty (Ph.D, MIT), Exploratorium senior scientist and planetary physicist, who has reported from and followed eclipses around the world.

  • Linda Shore (Ed.D, Boston University), Director of the Exploratorium Teacher Institute and astrophysicist

  • Ron Hipschman (M.A., San Francisco State University), physicist / astronomer

BACKGROUND:  The Exploratorium’s eclipse expedition team has Webcast the eclipse live from remote regions around the globe including the remote Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in northwestern China near the Mongolian border in 2008.

To view archives of Exploratorium live solar eclipse webcasts, find out why eclipses happen and how to view one, peek into journals from early eclipse expeditions, and look at eclipses through myths, legends, and literature. Go to: http://www.exploratorium.edu/eclipse/index.html

Other Helpful resource websites:

Eye damage can happen to anyone who looks at eclipses without using an appropriate solar filter or projection device.  A safe and alternative way of viewing the effects of the eclipse is to look down rather than up.

Learn how to safely view a partial eclipse: http://www.exploratorium.edu/eclipse/how.html

“Look under trees where the partially eclipsed sun shines through holes in the leaf cover and you will see the ground covered in U-shaped partial rings of light.  The pinholes between the leaves project images of the eclipse onto the ground,” said Paul Doherty, Ph.D, Exploratorium senior scientist and a planetary physicist, who has followed eclipses around the world.

Hours of Operation & New Evening Hours
Tuesday-Sunday 10am-5pm;  every Thursday evening adults only (ages 18 and up) 6pm-10pm.

$29 for adults, with lower rates for SF Bay Area residents, youth, seniors, students, teachers and the disabled. Tickets available at the door and advance tickets available online at www.exploratorium.edu/visit/tickets.

Getting Here
The Exploratorium is easily accessible by public transit. Convenient parking is available nearby. For more information, visit www.exploratorium.edu/visit/location-directions

About the Exploratorium
The Exploratorium is the global leader in informal learning, igniting curiosity and inspiring creativity in people of all ages. The world-renowned science museum creates original, interactive exhibits, on display at more than 1,000 science centers, museums and public spaces around the world. Dedicated to education reform in and out of the classroom, the Exploratorium is a premier professional development center for educators and a creator of award-winning educational resources. Since 1969, the Exploratorium has influenced generations of entrepreneurs, artists, scientists, teachers, students, children, museum professionals and everyday doers, reaching nearly 180 million people annually from around the globe. On April 17, 2013, the Exploratorium opened at Pier 15 in the heart of San Francisco's Embarcadero, where it will celebrate a new era of experiences that encourage critical thinking and awaken wonder for generations to come. For more information, visit www.exploratorium.edu/visit.

Pier 15
San Francisco
California 94111
(415) 528-4444 telephone

Contact Us:
Jenny Slafkosky (415) 528-4367