Thursday, October 23 there will be a deep partial solar eclipse favoring viewers in North America, Kamchatka, easternmost Siberia, and portions of the northeast Pacific. The Sun will rise partially eclipsed in Kamchatka, and then the eclipse will progress eastward as the Moon’s penumbra slips over the Earth, hitting Alaska and then moving into Canada and the contiguous United States. Most of the United States will get to see it, although Hawaii misses out entirely, and the circumstances get worst the further east you go. Here in the Twin Cities, the Sun will set about forty-five minutes after maximum eclipse, but before the eclipse is over. East of a line running right down the lower peninsula of Michigan, the Sun will set before maximum eclipse. Most of New England will miss out entirely, as the Moon’s shadow slips off the limb of the Earth here.
Remember: don’t stare at the eclipse unprotected for any serious length of time. You can damage your retina in this way. Eclipses cut down on the amount of heat energy coming out, enough that you will not feel pain as quickly, but you’ll still be getting enough UV radiation to be harmful. Use a properly filtered telescope, a solar telescope, cheap binoculars and a sheet of cardboard for a projection setup, a pinhole camera, welding glass (NASA recommends #14 or better), or some other form of protection. Eclipses are well worth watching, but your vision is more important.
Tomorrow’s viewing should be especially good since there will be sunspots, with gargantuan sunspot group 2192 (you’ll know it when you see it) rolling around towards the center of the solar disk right now.