Starwatch: Can we see the solar eclipse in the Tri-Cities?

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A solar eclipse is happening this Thursday morning, June 10th!

Here in the Tri-Cities a partial, not total, Solar Eclipse will occur.  A partial solar eclipse occurs when the moon partially covers the sun as it passes in between the Sun and the Earth. Unfortunately, it will be tough to see here.

One reason is the moon is only covering a small percentage of the sun from our view. Dr. Gary Henson, an astronomy professor at ETSU, says even if this were to happen at noon, we would not notice any dimming of sunlight since the effects from the moon passing over a small portion of the sun are so small.

Another reason is the timing and the terrain. The eclipse will happen right around sunrise. Therefore, the sun will be extremely low on the horizon. With the mountains to the east and the hilly terrain, it would be best to find a high point and where the northeast horizon is relatively flat.

Our last obstacle is the weather. Skies need to be cloud free low in northeast sky to see the sun rise.

If you try to catch this partial solar eclipse, look into the northeast sky at sunrise on Thursday, June 10. The sunrise is at 6:09 am. The maximum eclipse occurs at 6:14 a.m. and the eclipse will end at 6:28 a.m.

Who is lucky enough to see this? Places in Canada, Greenland, the North Pole, and Russia will get to see a total annular eclipse. Annular means the moon will be too far from Earth to cover the sun completely (thanks to Earth’s elliptical orbit). The result is a ring of fire around the moon from the sun. 

Dr. Gary Henson also suggests using solar filters if you do try to view the partial solar eclipse because it is never safe to look at the sun with unprotected eyes. 

Thanks to EarthSky, Stellarium, NASA, Sky & Telescope, TimeandDate

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