If you live in North America and clear skies are in the forecast, then you’re in for a treat. A partial solar eclipse will be visible across most of North America this afternoon. Unfortunately, people who live in the far northeast will miss the show, since the sun will set before the action begins.
When to See It
If you’re in New York City, the eclipse will begin at 5:49 p.m. (all times local) and peak around 6:03 p.m. In Chicago, the eclipse will begin at 4:36 p.m. and peak at 5:43 p.m. Out in Los Angeles, take a late lunch, as the eclipse will begin at 2:08 p.m. and peak at 3:28 p.m. NASA has a complete list of viewing times
near major cities. The further east you are in the United States, the lower the sun will be on the horizon come eclipse time. Therefore, you’ll need to find a viewing spot that is free of trees and hills. People on the West Coast won’t have that problem.
Viewing the Eclipse
It seems intuitive, but it never hurts to have this reminder: Do not look at the sun with your naked eye! Don’t view the eclipse through binoculars or a telescope (unless you have proper lens filter) as you could be permanently blinded. NASA has a set of guidelines for safely viewing
When’s the Next Eclipse
The next total solar eclipse will occur on March 20, 2015, but will be visible only in Europe and Asia. The solar show won't return to the U.S. for another three years, but when it does it'll be stupendous. On Aug. 21, 2017, people across the United States will have a front-row view of a total solar eclipse. And in case you’re in an area with crummy weather today, you can watch a live, narrated broadcast of Thursday’s eclipse starting at 5 p.m. EST on Slooh.com
Photo credit: Santosh Namby Chandran/Flickr