October 23rd 2014 Partial Solar Eclipse

Tomorrow on the 23rd of August, most of North America will witness a partial eclipse of the Sun as the Moon’s penumbral shadow passes over Earth.  This partial solar eclipse will be best viewed in the western half of North America, when as much as 60% of the Sun will be covered.  In the mid-Atlantic states, the partial eclipse will occur near sunset, and so the entire eclipse duration will not be seen before the Sun sets.Partial Solar Eclipse

Partial Solar Eclipse (courtesy Farmer’s Almanac)

Local circumstances and eclipse times for a number of cities in the US and Canada can be found in the following image.

(courtesy EarthSky)
(courtesy EarthSky)

Never attempt to observe the Sun with the unaided eye, through binoculars, telescopes or any optical aid without specialized filters.  Sun glasses do not work.  Severe eye damage can occur.  A simple safe way is the pin hole projection method. This can be made from two sheets of white cardboard.  Punch a small hole (couple of millimeters) into the first piece (making sure the hole is a clean cut) and allow sunlight to pass through the hole and project onto the second sheet held about a foot behind or below the first piece.  The size of the Sun’s image can be adjusted by changing the distance between the two pieces of cardboard.

Since the event will be near sunset in many places, there should be some very interesting landscape scenes created by the setting Sun during the eclipse.  So find a good location with a clear view of the western horizon and keep your fingers crossed for clear weather.

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