NorCal will be optimal viewing territory for two astronomical phenomena in the coming weeks. This Sunday evening is an annular solar eclipse — the Moon passing between Earth and the Sun and partially blocking the Sun. We’ll be right in line for viewing at roughly 6:20 PM, though we won’t have the best view. (Make sure you don’t stare directly at the Sun. We picked up some eclipse glasses so hopefully we’ll be safe.)
Even more special is the Transit of Venus which is coming up on June 5. This is our last chance to see Venus passing across the face of the Sun.
The Observatory at Sacramento City College will be open June 5 for watching the Transit from 3:00 PM until about sunset. I’ve never seen the SCC Observatory, but it is open to the general public the first Friday of every month for viewing through the telescope. Astronomy Coordinator & Professor of Astronomy Liam McDaid tells me that for the Transit the Observatory will have 2 telescopes and a Sunspotter image projector, “the most safe method of viewing anything about the Sun” in order to let the expected large crowd see the phenomenon.
Any astronomy nuts out there have good tips on other places to view these events? For the eclipse, I was thinking Glenn Hall Park as it has the nice lawn that should give a great view of the moon for both events, plus the levee if you need to get a better angle.