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.

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About astrobob

My name is Bob King and I work at the Duluth News Tribune in Duluth, Minn. as a photographer and photo editor. I'm also an amateur astronomer and have been keen on the sky since age 11. My modest credentials include membership in the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO) where I'm a regular contributor, International Meteorite Collectors Assn. and Arrowhead Astronomical Society. I also teach community education astronomy classes at our local planetarium.

134 thoughts on “Rare solar eclipse November 3 – how and where to see it

  1. 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.

      • 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 ?

        • Brittany,
          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.

          • 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?

          • Ricky,
            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. 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

    • Thonas,
      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.

    • Mary,
      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.

  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….

  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

  5. 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 ?

  6. 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

    • 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.

    • Marlyn,
      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.

    • 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.

  7. 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!


  8. 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?

  9. 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.

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

  11. 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

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

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

  14. 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….

    • 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.

  15. 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.

  16. Bob-

    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?


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