Where and when to look and what to pay attention to

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The day has finally arrived. After nearly seven years of waiting, it’s time for a total solar eclipse that will create a celestial display in the skies above the United States, as well as parts of Mexico and Canada.

An estimated 32 million people in the US live within the path of totality, or locations where the moon completely obscures the face of the sun for a few moments.

The eclipse will first appear over the South Pacific and then begin its journey across North America. Mexico’s Pacific coast is the first point of totality on the path, expected at 11:07 a.m. PT (2:07 p.m. ET), and the eclipse is expected to end at 5:16 p.m. local time (3 a.m. ET) on the Atlantic coast of Newfoundland. :46 p.m. ET). Check what the solar eclipse will look like and when it will appear over your area using our map.

Those standing right along the centerline of the path will see a solar eclipse that lasts between 3.5 and 4 minutes, according to NASA.

In the US, a total solar eclipse will be visible to those in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, although the weather threatens to spoil the fun. some.

Only a few isolated clouds are expected in Vermont through Maine, and also in Missouri through southern Indiana, making for optimal eclipse viewing. However, in much of Texas and the eastern Great Lakes, the weather can be less than ideal.

The crowds in the small town of Houlton, Maine have already exceeded expectations.

“We really couldn’t have even hoped that we would have weather like this, and the sky is blue and the crowds are actually starting to form and it’s only 6:15 in the morning,” said Jane Torres, executive director of the Greater Houlton Chamber of Commerce, told CNN’s This Morning. “This is the biggest thing we’ve ever seen.”

Michael Zeiler/GreatAmericanEclipse.com

Michael Zeiler/GreatAmericanEclipse.com

A partial solar eclipse, where the moon appears to take a crescent-shaped “bite” out of the sun, will be visible to those outside the path of totality.

Don’t forget to bring certified eclipse glasses or solar binoculars to look at the sky safely; it is not safe to view any phase of a solar eclipse, except when the moon completely blocks the sun’s light, without proper eye protection. And sunglasses, or several sunglasses, are not enough. The biggest risk of looking at the sun without the dark filter of eclipse glasses or solar binoculars is permanent eye damage, known as solar retinopathy. This condition may improve or worsen over time, but cannot be treated.

Are you concerned that your eclipse glasses may be counterfeit? There is an easy way to test that problem. And if your eclipse glasses aren’t secure, or you’re worried about kids taking their glasses off, make a simple pinhole projector to join in the eclipse fanfare.

Special eclipse moments

Although totality is considered the most exciting part of a total solar eclipse, there are other special phases to look out for before the big moment arrives.

Apart from the weeks and months of anticipation leading up to the eclipse, the longest phase of the event is the partial eclipse, as the moon slowly moves across the sun. This phase can last 70 to 80 minutes.

But a good sign for spectators will be when the sky begins to darken and turn an eerie gray color about 15 to 20 minutes before totality.

Then several phases take place in quick succession, just before the sunlight disappears completely from view.

Baily's beads are a brief phase of the solar eclipse that occurs just before totality.  – Heinz-Peter Bader/ReutersBaily's beads are a brief phase of the solar eclipse that occurs just before totality.  – Heinz-Peter Bader/Reuters

Baily’s beads are a brief phase of the solar eclipse that occurs just before totality. – Heinz-Peter Bader/Reuters

Look for droplets of sunlight forming around the moon, known as Baily’s beads, as sunlight streams over the craters and valleys of the moon’s surface. After about 30 seconds to a minute, some of these droplets appear to merge, creating a glittering “diamond ring” effect. After about another minute, the moon will appear to move completely in front of the sun, and only a white halo of light will be visible as totality begins.

The luminous glow belongs to the sun’s corona, or hot outer atmosphere, and its faint light is only visible when the sun’s ultra-bright surface is blocked. Astronomers are keen to study the corona with a number of experiments, including high-altitude research aircraft, to better understand the fine structures within it and why the corona is millions of degrees hotter than the surface of the Sun.

Although totality is the main event, some bright spots may also be visible in the sky near the eclipse, belonging to Jupiter, Venus, Mars and the faint light of Saturn.

Look for points of light that represent visible planets in the sky during the solar eclipse.  - NASA/JPL-CaltechLook for points of light that represent visible planets in the sky during the solar eclipse.  - NASA/JPL-Caltech

Look for points of light that represent visible planets in the sky during the solar eclipse. – NASA/JPL-Caltech

The horned ‘devil comet’, aka comet 12P/Pons-Brooks, will likely be too faint to be seen without a telescope or binoculars – but the solar eclipse is the most important time to watch anyway, according to astronomers.

During the brief darkness of the total solar eclipse, some daytime animals may become silent, while nocturnal animals such as crickets may begin to chirp and stir. Scientists are keen to investigate why animals behave unusually during the brief moments of solar eclipses, and the public is invited to take part in some of the research taking place on Monday.

And expect local temperatures to drop briefly during those few moments of totality.

A diamond ring effect will be visible on the far side of the moon as totality ends, followed by Baily’s beads, and then a partial solar eclipse as the temporary alignment of the sun, moon and Earth, known as syzygy, comes to an end.

When will the next solar eclipse occur?

After the total solar eclipse is over, we’ll have to wait a while for the next such celestial sightings in the United States.

Those who live in Alaska will catch a glimpse of a total solar eclipse on March 30, 2033, and a partial solar eclipse will shine over most of the US during that event.

A total solar eclipse won’t be visible again from the contiguous US until August 22, 2044, but totality will only occur over North Dakota and Montana, plus northern Canada.

However, the next total solar eclipse with a coast-to-coast path encompassing the lower 48 states will occur on August 12, 2045. The path of totality will arc over California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Mississippi. , Alabama and Florida, with a partial solar eclipse visible in other states.

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