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L.A. Can See Solar Eclipse Sunday (But Not With the Naked Eye, Please)

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Sunday May 20 is this year's first solar eclipse, and Angelenos will get the chance to see the celestial event--just don't look directly at it!The event is considered a partial solar eclipse, and the Griffith Observatory breaks it down:

As seen from Earth, a Solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between the Sun and the Earth, and the Moon fully or partially blocks the Sun. From selected locations in Asia, the Pacific Ocean, the Western U.S., this will be an annular eclipse. An annular eclipse occurs when the Moon and Sun are exactly in line, but the apparent size of the Moon is slightly smaller than the apparent size of the Sun, causing a very bright ring or annulus, surrounding the dark outline of the Moon. On May 20, 2012 in Los Angeles, the eclipse will not be centered on the Sun, and is thus a partial eclipse.

Because it is dangerous to look directly into an eclipse, Griffith Observatory will have special filters on their viewing equipment, and will have protective eyewear available in their gift shop.

It's been a while since L.A. has been treated to having so much of an eclipse to see; Sunday's event is "the most extensive solar eclipse in L.A. since 1992."

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NASA has more details about the science of the eclipse and its trajectory on Sunday. It will "visible from a 240 to 300 kilometre-wide track that traverses eastern Asia, the northern Pacific Ocean and the western United States," says NASA.

In L.A. the viewing time is 5:24 p.m. - 7:42 p.m. Griffith Observatory will be open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. if you want to head up there to check it out.

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