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‘Crescent sun’ eclipse will be first in Lower 48 since 1994

Sunday’s annular eclipse – the first such eclipse visible in the contiguous United States since 1994 – will take place as the moon crosses in front of the sun.Here in Tucson, the moon will obscure 87 percent of the sun, creating a spectacular “crescent sun.”SAGUARO PARK VIEWINGPartial-eclipse views are expected to be good at Southern Arizona spots including Saguaro National Park West.A “viewing party” will be held at the park’s visitor center Sunday from about 5:30 p.m. to sunset. The eclipse will be at its best at about 6:40 p.m.Regular park admission fees of $10 per vehicle will be in effect.The park visitor center is at 2700 N. Kinney Road. Be sure to bring protective “solar glasses” or buy a pair at the visitor center for $1.99.Call 733-5158 for more information.Flandrau Science CenterExpert astronomers will guide free partial-eclipse and solar-telescope viewing on the University of Arizona Mall in front of Flandrau, 1601 E. University Blvd., from 4 to 9 p.m.With the purchase of solar viewing glasses for about $4, there will also be video feeds of the eclipse in the planetarium and activities for kids in the exhibit halls.SafetyIt is never safe to look at a partial or annular eclipse without the proper equipment and techniques.According to NASA, observers need to wear specialized solar-filter shades, also called solar glasses. Regular sunglasses are insufficient.Use a proper solar filter over a telescope or project an image of the sun with a suitable indirect-viewing technique.More onlineFor safety info on how to view the sun during the annular eclipse, go to: eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SEhelp/safety.htmlOn StarNet: Find more coverage of science and technology at azstarnet.com/science

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