Public invited to view solar eclipse at Cuesta
–The partial solar eclipse on Monday, Aug. 21, will be viewable on Cuesta College’s San Luis Obispo Campus in the Bowen Observatory (Science Forum room 2404) from 9 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. The public is invited to take part and safely observe the moon passing in front of the sun through the Bowen Observatory’s 14” telescope. Although seen as a total solar eclipse in other parts of the United States, San Luis Obispo will only experience a partial solar eclipse.
“The moon will take several hours to completely move across the disk of the sun, and visitors to the Bowen Observatory will observe the first half of the partial eclipse,” said Cuesta College Astronomy Instructor Dr. Patrick Len. “The moon will appear as a dark circular disk. Sunspots may also be seen during this time, depending on the current magnetic activity of the sun.”
The Bowen Observatory’s telescope is outfitted with a special narrow wavelength-band making the sun safe for viewing. “The filter will block 99.99-percent of sunlight; this allows the sun to be safely viewed without any danger,” said Dr. Len.
The event will also include a limited supply of special viewing glasses to attendees.
The next two partial solar eclipses visible in San Luis Obispo will be Oct. 14, 2023, and April 8, 2024.
The Bowen Observatory originally contained a telescope with an 8” diameter-reflecting mirror. In 2004, the Cuesta College Foundation funded its replacement with a computer-guided telescope containing a 14” diameter-reflecting mirror. This allows for more precise guiding and greater light-gathering and resolving power, resulting in the ability to track and observe dimmer objects in the sky.
Cuesta College currently offers courses in astronomy and astronomy research, where students can learn about planets, satellites, asteroids, comets, meteors, the sun, stars and galaxies, as well as develop an understanding of astronomical research. For more information, please call (805) 546-3230.