Rare Solar Eclipse November 3 – How And Where To See It

Sunday’s solar eclipse will be both total (left) and annular. Annular comes from the Latin word ‘annulus’ meaning ring.  The last ‘hybrid’ eclipse occurred in 2005. Credit: Luc Viatour (left) and Mrpulley

When the moon passes directly between the Earth and sun we witness either a total or annular solar eclipse. Sunday’s eclipse will be both – a rarity! In an annular or ring eclipse, the moon covers all but a bright ring of sunlight around the sun’s circumference. Just like a total eclipse, the moon moves centrally across the sun, but it’s near the far end of its orbit and too small to completely cover the solar disk.

Map showing the path of the hybrid eclipse across the globe. The path of totality falls along the narrow purple band from the mid-Atlantic (sunrise) across central Africa to Somalia (sunset). Every place under the larger grid will see a partial eclipse; everywhere else on Earth, no eclipse will be visible. Click to enlarge. Credit: Fred Espenak / NASA

Sunday’s eclipse begins at sunrise in the Atlantic Ocean some 600 miles (1,000 km) east of Florida with the silhouetted moon circled by the thinnest of fiery rings. Not long after, the curvature of the Earth shrinks the distance between Earth and moon just enough for the moon to completely cover the sun in total eclipse. Because the two make a “tight fit”, this eclipse will last only 99 1/2 seconds at longest. That happens around 12:45 p.m. local time a couple hundred miles off the Liberian coast.

Most locations will experience even less totality, including Kenya, the location with the greatest chance of clear skies; 11 seconds will be all she’ll write.

After making landfall in Gabon, the moon’s shadow sweeps eastward across central Africa ending in Somalia at sunset where totality lasts a fleeting one second.

During a total solar eclipse the moon passes directly between Earth and sun. From inside the dark umbral shadow the sun is totally eclipsed; from inside the penumbral shadow observers see a partial solar eclipse. Credit: Wiki

A partial eclipse will be visible from Spain to South Africa and across the northern third of South America and the East Coast of the U.S. and Canada. If you live west of a line passing through central Ohio, eastern Kentucky and Tennessee and western Georgia, it’ll (sadly) be over before the sun rises.

The eclipse will already be in progress when the sun rises in the eastern U.S. Sunday morning. Here’s how it will in four cities minutes after sunrise. Created with Stellarium

For the East Coast the eclipse will already be at underway and at maximum at sunrise with anywhere from 1/3 to 1/2 of the sun covered. Here are a few locations and the percentage of sun that will be cloaked by the moon. The event wraps up around 7:10 a.m. Eastern Standard Time or between 30-45 minutes after sunrise. For circumstances for more towns, click HERE:

*  Akron 6%
*  Baltimore 37%
*  Boston 54%
*  Columbia, SC 21%
*  Miami 36%
*  New York 48%
*  Philadelphia 44%
*  Washington DC 35%
*  Quebec, QC. 36%
*  Ottawa, ON.  23%

Map showing the path of the total eclipse (narrow blue band) across central Africa, the only place where totality will be visible from land. Times and duration of totality are shown for specific locations. Credit: Fred Espenak

This excellent map by cartographer Michael Zeiler showing the eclipse boundaries and circumstances across Central America, the East Coast and Canada. If you do plan to watch, find a place with a wide-open view to the east and try to get situated. A safe, handheld solar filter is a must. You can also poke a small hole in a piece of cardboard and cast an image of the sun on the ground. The smaller the hole the sharper but fainter the image.

Don’t forget! We lose daylight saving time on Sunday morning, so if the sun rises around 6:30 a.m. for you Saturday, it will rise one hour earlier Sunday at 5:30.

134 Responses

  1. Sebastien

    Hi Bob, thanks for the news. I was in Gabon in 1987 as a 7 years old boy when came a total eclipse of the sun. That was my first encounter with space! And probably my last total eclipse in my lifetime. We were living to the tip of the continent, in Port-Gentil, where the eclipse was full. I cant believe another eclipse will cross that very same speck of land after tomorrow. As if the incas in the Adventures of Tintin would have witnessed another eclipse after Tintin left.

      1. brittany

        i have a question i live in georgia, every website i go to sais it starts at 630 am sunday but the maps say 10am sunday im going with the 630 am so i dont miss it but …… would it really be 530 since time goes back tonight ?

        1. astrobob

          You’ll see the eclipse starting at sunrise around 6:30 a.m. your time. It ends about 7 a.m. These times are standard time since DST ends very early Sun. morning.

          1. Ricky

            I live in Ga also, how much of the eclipse will Ga actually get to see, provided I wake up and go outside on time, lol?

          2. astrobob

            For southeast Georgia about 20 percent will be covered, but only about 5-6 percent in Atlanta. Time is from sunrise to about 7:05 a.m.

  2. tom

    I, sam from rw and now live in soutthern mis..ouri. help me with the time tosee this please .thaanks. for your column. It lsgreat

    1. astrobob

      Since you’re 3 hours ahead of Universal Time (Greenwich Time), the eclipse happens between 4:09 and 7:28 p.m. your time. Best time (maximum eclipse) is 5:24 p.m., one hour before sunset.

    1. astrobob

      Hi Sam,
      You will see about 75% of the sun covered late in the day about 1/2 hour before sunset. The path of total eclipse goes through northern Kenya. Please check the blog again – I added an Africa map.

    1. astrobob

      Yes, you’ll see the eclipse but it won’t be total. Still, a very nice one with about 90% of the sun covered at maximum in late afternoon before sunset. You should notice a change in the light. Please check the blog again – I added an Africa map.

    1. astrobob

      Kimberly and veekie,
      The sun will be 80% eclipsed in southern Nigeria and 60% in northern Nigeria. Best viewing time is around 2-3 p.m. Sunday.

  3. you ROCK astrobob !!! : ) you’re a born teacher, with the patience of a dove…..thank you sooo much for your astral zeal and sharing all this with “the family”…….hugs, sunshine, Love , and Light

    angela, novice star-gazer……it’s all thumbs with the star map, flashlight, compass, and cheater glasses, not to mention binoculars, mature trees , chilly temperatures, and inborn topographasia….

    1. astrobob

      Sadly, most of Iran will not see the eclipse. Maybe a tiny nick in the sun’s edge at sunset from far western Iran.

      1. komar

        im from the western part, and thanks for replying so quick. It’s like 5% disappears or something like that, right?

        1. astrobob

          Komar, I looked more closely and the sun will be from about 20-30 percent covered at sunset from western Iran. That means you can start watching at least a half hour before sunset.

  4. astrobob…..I will be out around 6am tomorrow morning (clocks fwd) and looking east, but do you think I should drive somewhere where I can see an actual horizon line?……I also need to see about what a solar filter is….I don’t like the cardboard idea……I have red acetate…would that help?…..I also have those goggles that people use for tanning booths….are they acceptable???ty

      1. Joules

        I’m in Takoradi, Ghana and I will have full view of the solar eclipse, that is, the moon covering 80% of the sun and making a 3 hours move across the sun. It start exactly 11am in the morning to 2pm in the afternoon.

  5. brittany

    Now that I realize that I put that comment in the wrong place, i have a question i live in georgia, every website i go to sais it starts at 630 am sunday but the maps say 10am sunday im going with the 630 am so i dont miss it but …… would it really be 530 since time goes back tonight ?

    1. astrobob

      It will be about 80 percent covered at around 2 p.m. You can start watching around 1 p.m. or earlier.

  6. Robert S

    I live in MD. About what time should I expect and how much should I see of the eclipse? And Daylight Saving time starts

    1. astrobob

      For Baltimore the eclipse begins at sunrise (about 6:30 a.m.) and ends at 7:10 a.m. You’ll see 37 percent of the sun eclipsed at max at sunrise.

  7. Oji

    I have just read up this post and the comments that followed. I am amazed how you are efficient in replying all the questions that followed. please, I want to know if Nigeria will be affected by the eclipse and what percentage of the sun will be covered if yes. please try and give me a reply because I am so anxious to know. thanks

    1. astrobob

      Dear Oji,
      For Nigeria it looks like 60 percent (n. Nigeria) to 80 percent of the sun covered (s. Nigeria) during mid-afternoon Sunday. Starts around 12:45 p.m. and ends about 4 p.m. Best from around 1:30-3 p.m.

    1. astrobob

      Yes, you’ll see about 20 percent of the sun covered at maximum. I don’t have exact times but it looks like you’ll be able to watch starting about and hour and a half before sunset. The eclipse will end at sunset in Lebanon.

    1. astrobob

      Dear bishop,
      For Nigeria it looks like 60 percent (n. Nigeria) to 80 percent of the sun covered (s. Nigeria) during mid-afternoon Sunday. Starts around 12:45 p.m. and ends about 4 p.m. Best from around 1:30-3 p.m.

  8. K Smith

    In Michigan, so I won’t see this.

    But we’re only a few years (Aug 2017) from the eclipse that will be total for a path that crosses the continental USA!


  9. Mitesh

    Hi I live in Johannesburg south Africa what time will the eclipse be visible and hw many percent .of the sun will be covered ?

  10. Mel

    Hello ,
    I am going to go out on a limb here on the west coast central Calif. Not going to be visible? Would be better to stay in bed and watch for videos posted on you tube ,or other sites after the fact?

  11. Nat

    I Live in Central Florida, is it safe to say I should be outside to see it at around 6:30 a.m, and how much will be visible in my location?
    Thanks in advance.

  12. Kìenjeku

    From central kenya. Is there need of using protective device since it occurs at sunset? Will the rays from the annular ring be strong?

    1. astrobob

      Kienjeku, you can take quick looks as long as it’s very close to the horizon. A safe filter is a no. 14 welder’s glass.

  13. Rosie

    I live in Winnipeg, Mb. Will I be able to see this here? And when does it begin, full and end? Please and thank you.

  14. Bruce M Strong

    My daughter alerted me in a nick of time! From Merritt Island looking through stacked film negatives we had a great view. Approximately 40% lower left covered. Free show on a Sunday morning. Peace

  15. celestina chukwuka

    pls sir,i live in d eastern nigeria(Anambra state)by exact wat time could i be able to witness dis eclipse,pls reply

  16. celestina chukwuka

    pls sir, wat tym could i be able to witness d eclipse @ d eastern nigeria(Anambra state)nd hw long will it last ?

  17. According to my calculations, there is only 1336 days before you and I gets to be under Luna’s shadow on the shores of the Columbia river on August 21 2017. 🙂

    1. astrobob

      I’ve been anticipating this eclipse for years and now it seems close. Love to join you on the river but I’ll probably opt for S.Dakota or Missouri, a little closer to home.

  18. Lester

    Thanxs mob for the information too bad such will happen again oba when we are where i dnt know!! Will there be other occurances lke lunar or space mystries for viewing any time soon?? Lester fom uganda thanx again….

    1. astrobob

      Thanks for writing Lester. There are many wonderful things that will appear in the sky soon. We are all hoping Comet ISON will become bight later this month. Next month is the Geminid meteor shower.

  19. kiersten

    i live in canada, british columbia, i know i wont beable to see it, but theres a live broadcast i want to watch, what time should i go look at it.

  20. K Smith


    I think there is also a total eclipse in 2021 that will be visible in the northeast USA and parts of Canada. Is that right?


    1. astrobob

      Hi K.,
      No, that one will only be visible over Antarctica Dec. 4, 2021. The next total over the U.S. after the Aug. 2017 eclipse will be on April 8, 2024.

Comments are closed.