In exactly 191.5 hours the moon’s shadow will just begin to take a bite out of the Sun. Two hours later the Sun will be totally covered by the Moon and, weather permitting, you will see one of the greatest naked eye wonders of the sky. If the weather the past few days is repeated on the 21st we will at least get good occasional views of the event. Since the time from first contact to totality and from totality to last contact are pretty much the same there should be plenty of time for viewing the partial phase of the eclipse. For the critical 86 seconds of totality be ready to take off your solar glasses and watch the stars and planets come out.
The Moon is headed for its rendezvous with the Sun and will be out and visible every day until the final hours when it shrinks to last quarter to new. This photo was taken at 11:00 this morning and shows the Moon in its waning gibbous phase. More details about why eclipses occur, their historical importance and safe viewing tips at the Trust Talk on the 20th.
Jim Stratigos – Resident Astronomer