The Only Full Solar Eclipse This Year Is Happening Tomorrow--Here's How to Watch

Monday, 07 March 2016 - 12:43PM
Astronomy
Sun
Monday, 07 March 2016 - 12:43PM
The Only Full Solar Eclipse This Year Is Happening Tomorrow--Here's How to Watch
Tomorrow night, on March 8, the Moon will pass directly between the Earth and the Sun, temporarily blocking the light of the Sun from our view. It is set to be one of the most spectacular celestial events of the year, and will be the only total solar eclipse in 2016.

Unfortunately, the only parts of the world that will have a front-row seat to the total eclipse will be parts of South Asia. However, a partial eclipse will be visible from Alaska, Guam, Hawaii, and American Samoa. For those of us who aren't lucky enough to live in any of those places, both SLOOH and NASA will be live-streaming the event, starting at 6pm ET and 8pm ET, respectively.




The eclipse will begin at 6:19pm ET, and will last through 11:34pm ET. The peak of the solar eclipse, called the totality, during which the Moon is directly in front of the Sun, will occur at 8:59pm ET. Those of you who can watch the solar eclipse live should remember to wear protective eye gear, as looking directly at a partial eclipse can damage the eyes. 

The solar eclipse is only visible to a small portion of the world, since it can only be seen from underneath the eclipse's shadow. The moon casts a shadow on Earth during an eclipse that is divided into two parts, the penumbra and the umbra. The penumbra is larger, and people residing in the areas touched by the penumbra can see a partial eclipse, but the total eclipse is only visible from beneath the umbra. Since the Moon is orbiting the Earth, the shadows move across our planet, so the visibility of the eclipse shifts as well. On this map, the thin blue line represents the movement of the umbra, while the larger blue area represents the movement of the penumbra.

Solar Eclipse Map

The U.S. won't get a chance to see a solar eclipse in person until August 21, 2017. But that event will be a huge landmark, as it will be the first time a solar eclipse is visible from the entirety of the U.S. since 1979.
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