Get Ready for Thursday's Splendid Sunrise Eclipse
|The sun appears in annular eclipse on Oct. 3, 2005. The black silhouette is the new moon. Abel Pardo Lopez|
On Thursday morning, June 10, the new moon will glide in front of the sun, and observers across the eastern U.S. and Canada, along with much of Europa and Asia, will witness a solar eclipse. This will be an annular or ring eclipse because the moon is farther from Earth than usual and appears too small to completely cover the sun. Instead, sunlight will spill around its edges to form a ring. The moon's distance varies because it orbits the Earth in an ellipse, not a circle.
Lucky skywatchers in the path of annularity will see a brilliant ring or annulus of sunlight encircling the moon at maximum eclipse. That path begins at sunrise on the far north shore of Lake Superior in Ontario and sweeps across Hudson Bay, northwestern Greenland, the North Pole and ends at sunset in Siberia.
|Here are details of the June 10th eclipse for a sample of cities. Obscuration is the area of the sun covered by the moon at maximum eclipse.|
I've written more extensively about this eclipse in this earlier post, but it never hurts to send out a reminder when a significant astronomical event is imminent. From most U.S. and southern Canadian locations the sun will already rise in partial eclipse. For the best views, just find a place with a wide-open view to the northeast and show up a little before sunrise. Click here to find your sunrise time.
From Europe, the eclipse will be an afternoon event with the sun high in the sky. No matter where you live, NEVER look directly at the sun or you will permanently damage your vision. Use a pair of safe eclipse glasses like the ones you may have purchased for the August 2017 eclipse. You'll know they're safe if the plastic film is undamaged and the glasses are marked CE & ISO certified. You can also purchase a #14 welder's glass from a welding supply shop. Both allow for comfortable, direct solar viewing.
|You can use several methods to safely view the eclipse. From left: projection with binoculars; eclipse glasses and crossing one hand over the other at a right angle. Bob King (left, center) and Sealle / CC BY-SA 4.0 (right)|
Lacking those, you can mount a pair of binoculars on a tripod, cover one lens with a lens cap and use the other to project the image of the sun on a wall or sheet of white paper or cardboard. You can also look under the nearest tree — the tiny spaces between the leaves will project multiple images of the sun on the ground. Or you can pierce holes in a paper plate with a sewing needle or use a colander to project small images of the sun. For a fun family project, build a box pinhole projector.
|This map provides some sample views of what the sun will look like during the eclipse from several U.S. and Canadian cities. Michael Zeiler, GreatAmericanEclipse.com|
To find out specific details of the eclipse for your location such as when it begins and ends and how much of the sun will be covered, head over to Xavier Jubier's Interactive Solar Eclipse Map. You can either enter your location in the search box or zoom into and explore the map with your mouse. Click anywhere, and a box will pop up with the details. Remember that the times shown are UT or Universal Time. To convert to Eastern Daylight Time (EDT), subtract 4 hours; 5 hours for CDT; 6 hours for MDT and 7 hours for PDT.
|This is a simulation of the eclipse when the sun rises over Lake Superior in Duluth, Minn. Thursday morning. Stellarium with additions by the author|
From many U.S. locations the eclipse only last 15 to 45 minutes. At least it happens before most folks go to work or school. That's a big plus despite the early hour. I had planned to observe it from the shore of Lake Superior but got invited to an eclipse flight by Sky & Telescope magazine. I'll be somewhere in over southern Ontario in the path of annularity on Thursday morning. Yikes! When I get back on the ground I'll share photos of the experience.
I hope you get to see the eclipse, but if it's cloudy or you just want to experience the entire event including the pivotal "ring of fire" around the moon, Gianluca Masi will livestream it starting at 5 a.m. CDT (9:00 UT) on his Virtual Telescope Project site.
Clear skies and enjoy the sunrise!