Wake up to the sun on Thursday in parts of North America and you may be able to see different sides of our neighborhood star. On June 1
The scientific name for this is an annular solar eclipse, which is slightly different from a total solar eclipse – when the moon is at the right distance from Earth to completely cover the sun. A total solar eclipse put on one, and we get .
The path to the Eye of Sauron-like phenomenon is called the annular path, and in this case it passes over some very remote and uninhabited areas, including northern Canada, Greenland and the frickin ‘North Pole. Add COVID travel restrictions on top of everything, and the actual fire will likely be witnessed by very few people.
Your best shot at this point may be to toss a coin or otherwise try to make your way to Sky and Telescope Magazine’s chartered flights from Minnesota to see the eclipse from the air.
The good news for millions of others is that a partial eclipse will still be visible for a period from northern and eastern stretches of North America and large parts of Europe. The animation below from NASA gives a good approximation of what will be visible from when and where. The large shadow over the globe denotes the day side from the night side, while the lighter, secondary shadow is where and when a partial eclipse will be visible. The path to the ring shape is represented by the small red area.
Another rare aspect of this eclipse is that it will occur close to sunrise in many places. This means that the sun with a nice, horizontal horizon to the east, just like at a waterfront, appears to have horns when rising in front of its usual curved disk.
“Great places to see this phenomenon are around Thunder Bay, Sault Ste Marie, Toronto, Philadelphia, New York City and Atlantic City,” explains Michael Zeiler of GreatAmericanEclipse.com. “Elsewhere, the rising sun will appear like a shark fin, such as Ottawa, Montreal and Boston.”
Remember, never look directly at the sun without proper eye protection, even (especially) during an eclipse. It’s still a dazzling fireball up there.
The American Astronomical Society has this authoritative guide to the safe display of an eclipse using a filter or a viewer or the old method of projecting pinhole.
For the vast majority of us who will not be able to get up on the annularity trail this time, plan to drive towards the western United States on October 14, 2023, when the fire shows up again.
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