Where to Watch the Solar Eclipse

Solar eclipse viewing parties will be hosted at several San Diego hotspots

By Monica Garske
|  Sunday, May 20, 2012  |  Updated 5:07 PM PDT
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HANGZHOU, CHINA - A woman observes the solar eclipse with her poodle on July 22, 2009 in Hangzhou of Zhejiang Province, China. (Photo by ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images)

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The rare “Ring of Fire” solar eclipse begins this evening at 5:24 p.m., and there are plenty of prime viewing locations in San Diego to catch the celestial show.

According to NASA, the moon will be at the furthest distance from Earth that it ever achieves during today’s partial eclipse.

That means the moon will block the smallest portion of the sun and leave the largest possible bright ring around the outside, thus the “Ring of Fire” nickname.

This is the first partial solar eclipse of this kind seen from the U.S. in the past 18 years.

In Southern California, the moon will begin obscuring the sun at 5:24 p.m., reaching its maximum coverage by 6:38 p.m. It will exit the sun’s path at 7:42 p.m., according to the Griffith Observatory.

The Observatory warns spectators to avoid looking directly at the sun during the eclipse, as it could cause permanent damage to eyesight.

In San Diego, spectators might want to watch the solar eclipse through complimentary “solar shades” provided by the Pacific Beach Shore Club at 4343 Ocean Blvd.

The bar is hosting a free eclipse viewing event today from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., complete with drink specials on eclipse-themed “Fireball” shots.

Meanwhile, the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park will also offer special eclipse viewing glasses for $2 per pair during their own Sunday viewing party. The event is free with admission into the park.

Finally, local artist Bobbi Koller will also host a solar eclipse and kite-flying gathering today at Mission Bay Park starting at 3 p.m. Locals are invited to show up early to fly kites and grab a pair of eclipse viewing glasses for $2 a pair.

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