Today’s partial solar eclipse is the last eclipse North America will see until the next total solar eclipse in 2017. It will begin at about 2:00 p.m. PST this afternoon, October 23, 2014. In most areas, the sun will be about half covered. The eclipse will occur over most of the continent — except for a small slice of eastern Canada and eastern New England.
A solar eclipse occurs when the new moon passes between Earth and the sun, casting a shadow on Earth’s surface.
Overall, the farther west and north you are the better. In western states, the entire eclipse will happen while the sun is still fairly high in the afternoon sky. For example, NASA says the eclipse will start for Los Angeles at 2:08 p.m. and end at 4:40 p.m. In most of the eastern half of the North American continent, you’ll still be able to see it at sunset. In New York, the eclipse starts at 5:49 p.m. and ends when the sun sets at 6:03 p.m.
This is the third eclipse visible in North America this year. The first two were lunar eclipses, one in April and the other earlier this month.
We remind you that it is extremely important not to look at the eclipse with the unprotected eye, as the ultraviolet and infrared radiation will cause permanent damage to the retinae in your eyes. Instead, punch a small hole in an index card or piece of paper, then stand with your back to the sun and focus the image of the eclipse through the hole in the paper onto another piece of paper. Without special equipment, this is the only safe way to observe the eclipse. Have fun. Be safe.
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