Most of us won’t be in the path of the annular eclipse that cuts across the western U.S. this Sunday afternoon. That means we’ll see varying degrees of a partial eclipse. The farther west and south you are, the more of the sun will go missing. Across the Midwest, about 2/3 of the sun will be covered at maximum eclipse. Viewed through a safe solar filter or indirectly, by projecting the sun’s image onto a sheet of white paper with binoculars, the eclipsed sun will be a lovely sight.
If you still would like to observe the sun directly but can’t find a mail-order solar filter, contact your local welding supply store and purchase a #14 welder’s glass.
For a wide swath of the central U.S. and Canada, the sun sets while still in eclipse, giving us a rare and scenic opportunity to observe a most unique sunset. I may be stuck in Duluth, but you better believe I’ll be somewhere where I can see right down to the northwestern horizon Sunday night.
Consider hunting up a similar spot where you live. Take the family and friends and arrive a little before eclipse start. My guess is that you’ve photographed sunsets before; this time your sun will take on a whole new appearance. If you stick around into twilight, you’ll even be able to see Venus a little more than “two fists” above and left of the sunset point. Binoculars will show it as a tiny crescent moon.
The whole event happens in the early evening with the sun low in the western sky. For Duluth, Minn. the moon takes it first nibble of the solar cookie at 7:17 p.m. when the sun is only 12 degrees high or about a balled fist held at arm’s length against the sky. Maximum eclipse – when the most sun is covered – occurs an hour later at 8:17 p.m., when 66% of the sun’s disk is blocked.
Even though our weather forecast is grim, Sunday night is expected to clear out. Because clear skies often start in the west and move east, the sun sometimes pops out at sunset from beneath the blanket of clouds. Don’t miss it.
Here’s a sampling of eclipse times for major cities not in the annular path but that will still experience a nice partial eclipse. The listed times are local, meaning the time you see on your watch or cellphone if you live there. Eclipse start and maximum coverage times are shown:
* Minneapolis, Minn. — 7:19 p.m. start / 8:19 p.m. max / 67% covered / Sun sets in eclipse
* Fargo, ND — 7:16 p.m. / 8:18 p.m. / 66% / Sun sets in eclipse
* Winnipeg, Manitoba — 7:13 p.m. / 8:14 / 61% / ” ”
* Madison, Wis. — 7:21 p.m. / 8:20 p.m. / 68% / ” ”
* Chicago, Ill. — 7:22 p.m. / 8:21 p.m. / 69% / ” ”
* Detroit, Mich. — 8:21 p.m. Sun only 4 degrees high at start and sets before maximum
* Indianapolis, Ind. — 8:24 p.m. with sun 5 degrees high. Sets before max.
* Memphis, Tenn. — 7:29 p.m. with sun 5 degrees high. ” ”
* Montgomery, Ala. — 8:30 p.m. with sun only 1 degree high. ” ”
* Omaha, Neb. — 7:23 p.m / 8:25 / 76%
* Kansas City, Kan. — 7:25 p.m. / 8:27 p.m. / 79% Max. eclipse happens at sunset
* Denver, Colo. — 6:23 p.m. / 7:30 p.m. / 86%
* Dallas, Tex. – 7:32 p.m. / max eclipse of 94% occurs ~12 mins. after sunset
* Salt Lake City, Utah — 6:19 p.m. / 7:30 / 89% / Eclipse ends just before sunset
* Las Vegas, Nev. — 5:24 p.m. / 6:36 p.m. / 92% / Eclipse ends at sunset
* Billings, Mont. — 6:14 p.m. / 7:22 p.m. / 77% Eclipse ends before sunset
* Seattle, Wash. — 5:02 p.m. / 6:18 p.m. / 83% Eclipse ends before sunset
* Portland, Ore. — 5:04 p.m. / 6:21 p.m. / 88% ” ”