Thursday’s partial solar eclipse will begin at 3:38 pm EDT (12:38 pm PDT) and last through 7:52 pm EDT (4:52 pm PDT).
The most spectacular portion of the partial eclipse, when the moon blocks out the most sun, will happen around 5:45 pm EDT (2:45 pm PDT).
Each time a solar eclipse occurs, only a small part of the world gets to see it. This is because a solar eclipse happens when the moon passes between the Earth and sun, casting its shadow across the Earth as it does so. But the shadow is relatively small, meaning only some of us get the chance to see this phenomenon each time it happens.
This time around, it will be North America’s turn.
It’s rare for most of the US to be able to see a solar eclipse like the one happening this week. The next time a solar eclipse will be visible from across the US will be the total solar eclipse on Aug. 21, 2017. But the entire country won’t see another partial solar eclipse, like the one happening this week, until the year 2023.
So don’t miss out!
Here’s a map indicating where you can see the solar eclipse and how much of the sun you will see blocked by the moon.
Each month, the moon changes its shape from a new moon, to a crescent, to a full, and back. The sun never wavers in its full glory — except during a solar eclipse, like the one taking place this Thursday, Oct. 23.
During a solar eclipse, the moon passes directly between Earth and the sun, casting its shadow over the side of the Earth that’s facing the sun. The bizarre site we see, as a result, is our sun blocked out either fully or partially by a blackness that is the moon.
Only two to five solar eclipses occur each year. This week’s solar eclipse is what is called a partial eclipse. It is the second and last solar eclipse we will see in 2014. A partial eclipse means that the moon will take only a small bite out of the sun as opposed to consuming it completely like during a total solar eclipse, pictured below.
The solar eclipse will grace the skies everywhere in the US except New England and Hawaii. The best place to see the eclipse is in the Central time zone, according to NASA astrophysicist Fred Espanak, because the time of maximum partial eclipse — when the moon appears to take the biggest bite out of the sun — will happen right around sunset.
You can check to see when the eclipse will happen in your city at timeanddate.com. Remember that no one should look directly at the sun during a partial eclipse without proper equipment, as it can damage the eyes.
If you get any shots of the partial solar eclipse, send them with a description, your name, and location to our science team at [email protected] and we might feature them on our site.
For more details about this week’s partial solar eclipse check out this NASA video.
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