Astronomers state that a partial solar eclipse is scheduled to occur across the eastern part of the United States on Oct. 23. That Thursday, the setting Sun will appear to be red and appear in a crescent shape. What will be happening is the Moon is going to be passing in front of the Sun, but it will be off center. Therefore, only a portion of the Earth’s personal star will remain exposed.
The partial solar eclipse should be observable from nearly all of America except New England and the state of Hawaii. The range of coverage should be around 10 percent in Florida to about 65 percent in Alaska. If the weather allows, just about everybody in North America should be able to catch a glimpse of the crescent Sun.
However, it is believed that spectators who reside in the Central Time zone may end up with the best viewing because the eclipse will be at its full phase when sunset arrives. Individuals in this time zone will be able to observe a blazing crescent dropping below the Earth’s horizon. Yet, it might be reduced in human visibility if there are any low lying clouds. Thursday’s partial solar eclipse is scheduled to start at 1:33 p.m. when the Moon starts to cross over the Sun’s face. Full eclipse time will occur around 2:58 p.m., when almost 51 percent of the Sun’s front will be hidden by the Moon. The partial solar eclipse is scheduled to end about 4:17 p.m. This will be around two hours before the Sun sets.
When an individual watches a solar eclipse of any kind, he or she must remember not to witness it directly without some kind of eye protection. If a person does, this could cause lasting eye damage or even permanent blindness. In many ways, a partial eclipse can be the most treacherous to see. It defeats the normal eye reflex to not look straight at the Sun. A person wearing sunglasses is not offered any protection either.
The safest way to watch this event is to use a pinhole punched in a portion of cardboard, which can then be used to project the Sun. This can be especially effective when used with an eclipse that takes place during sunset. A person needs to make the hole a couple of millimeters in width in the cardboard’s middle. Next, tape it on a window that faces the west. This will end up projecting an image of the eclipsing Sun on an opposite wall.
Viewers should never attempt to use binoculars or any kind of telescope to look at the Sun unless they have installed the proper solar filters. Never attempt to improvise with some kind of homemade attachments because everlasting eye damage could easily happen.
Even though a partial solar eclipse might not be considered as remarkable as a total eclipse, it can still be a beautiful sight and something very interesting to observe. Seeing the Moon slowly move over the Sun is something that can fill someone with wonder.
By Kimberly Ruble
The Westside Story