A rare treat will greet most along the east coast of the US. A partial eclipse will be visible at sunrise, for about 30 minutes and the weather should cooperate. How rare is it? The last partial eclipse seen in the eastern US was 13 years ago, on Christmas Day in 2000. Note that it will be best just as the sun comes up and the shadow or disk of the moon will appear to slip towards the ‘bottom’ of the solar disk.
So as Daylight Saving Time ends and we turn the clocks back overnight, don’t waste that extra hour of sleep. With reference to Baltimore, the sun will rise at 6:37am and we should be able to see about 37% of the sun blocked by the moon. Slightly better coverage in Cecil County and Ocean City.
Anywhere throughout Maryland and the eastern US will be able to see it, as long as the sky to the east is clear. So it could be cloudy overhead, but the eastern horizon is important. For that matter, if clouds are hugging the eastern view, that would be a problem.
In Maryland, if you are along the Chesapeake Bay or Ocean side, then you are in good shape. But tree lines, buildings, and small hills can delay your view of the sun and diminish the impact of the eclipse when you do see it. So make sure you get into a good spot, which in the dark could be trouble. Hopefully we will get some quality photos shared for all of us to enjoy.
The coverage will be more impressive farther north…
New York City: 48% coverage and a real treat for the thousands out to run and cheer on marathoners.
Boston: 54%, but the chance of clouds might be even great.
The sun rises from east to west, but the moon will appear to cross the other direction, so farther east will have a great chance to view this event.
Puerto Rico: 69% peaking at 7:04 am AST
Bermuda: 90% peaking at 7:07 am AST
Duration of the event based on Universal Time (EST +5 hours)
- (P1) Partial begin 10:04:34
- (U1) Total begin 11:05:17
- Greatest eclipse 12:47:36
- (U4) Total end 14:27:42
- (P4) Partial end 15:28:21
For any one spot in the path, the maximum coverage of totality is 1 minute 40 seconds off the east coast of Africa.
Types of Eclipses (see image in slide show):
- Partial: Only part of the moon’s shadow is cast on Earth.
- Annular: The moon crosses the center of the sun, but is at a farther point in its orbit, so it is too small to block out the sun completely. The outer edges of the sun are visible.
- Total: The moon completely blocks out the sun for a small, narrow strip across Earth’s surface. These are most rare. The last one seen in the contiguous US was February 26, 1979. That was in the Pacific Northwest. The last one in the eastern US was was March 7, 1970 seen between Virginia and Florida.The next one: August 21, 2017. This will be the first to cross the entire US from Pacific to Atlantic since 1918. Baltimore will have about 85% coverage in the middle of the afternoon, 4:43 pm EDT.
- Hybrid: This is what November 3rd, 2013 will be. At the start of the eclipse, the moon is too far away for complete blockage of the sun. But during the event, it gets closer and will turn into a total eclipse for some in the path of the center of the shadow.
How to watch:
The uniqueness of this event is that the sun will rise during the eclipse, possibly making for some dramatic photos. However it should be noted that it can still be a blinding event. It is NEVER safe to view the sun without eye protection. An eclipse allows your eye’s pupils to dilate, so more harmful rays can penetrate and cause damage. Since this will occurring first thing in the morning, your eyes may be adjusted to the dark, and more likely to be damaged.
There is a box method whereby cutting a pinhole and watching the view reflected on the inside, but most don’t want to go through the trouble. I recommend going to a hardware store and looking for welder’s mask, goggles, or glasses. Make sure to check with an employee for the type of lens. Normal sunglasses are not recommended.
Other possible options:
Viewing on a digital screen for a camera.
Mylar from helium balloons or potato chip bags. Double up the
If you get good photos, please share with me so I can pass it on via social media
Facebook: Justin Berk, Meteorologist
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