Partial solar eclipse to be visible through filters along Front Range on Thursday afternoon

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Credit: Steve Hirsch, Albuquerque, NM

Partial solar eclipse May 20, 2012. (Credit: Steve Hirsch, Albuquerque, N.M.)

DENVER — Mostly clear skies are forecast for Thursday when a  partial solar eclipse will be visible across most of North America, including Colorado.

Unlike a lunar eclipse that can be observed directly, viewing a solar eclipse needs to be done through special filters. Viewing a solar eclipse directly and even with sunglasses is to be avoided.

According to NASA’s eclipse page, the eclipse will begin at 3:18 p.m., reach its maximum about 4:35 p.m. and be over by 5:44 p.m. In the Denver metro area, about 45 percent of the sun will be eclipsed by the moon, according to TimeandDate.com, which has a nice graphic of how the eclipse will unfold.

The Fiske Planetarium on the University of Colorado campus in Boulder will have eclipse viewing starting at 3:19 p.m. It also has several special solar filters that are available for purchase. The cost is $2.50 before Thursday or $5 on the day of the eclipse.

The Denver Astronomical Society will be at the University of Denver’s Chamberlin Observatory from 3 p.m. to 5:45 p.m.  Solar scopes will be set up next to the observatory and safe filets will be available.

The biggest advice from astronomers is to not look at the eclipse directly. The eclipse can also be viewed online at EarthSky.org.

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