Earlier this year we promised four eclipses for 2014, two lunar and two solar. Well the first three have happened, and now it is time for number four. That comes on Thursday October 23, ranging from mid-afternoon to sunset, depending on your Turtle Island time zone.
The farther north and west you are, the fuller the view, according to Astronomy.com, which has a detailed list of cities in various time zones, and the hours of the day that the eclipse will be visible. The earliest incarnation begins in Alaska, at 11:55 a.m., while the eclipse occurs at sunset on the East Coast and will not be visible at all in easternmost New England or the Canadian Maritimes. In some places the eclipse will end after sunset, though the beginning can be viewed.
Likewise in the southwest, from Phoenix to Mexico City, coverage of the sun will be minimal—good news for Indigenous Peoples such as the Navajo, who believe eclipse-watching to be taboo.
One of the best vantage points will be Nunavut, Canada, where 75 percent of the sun will be covered by the moon, according to EarthSky.org, which offers numerous graphics and other information about the celestial feast.
It’s the fourth eclipse of the year, and the second solar. The first one occurred at the end of April, just a couple of weeks after the lunar eclipse on Tax Day.
Then again about two weeks ago, the full moon moved into Mother Earth’s shadow, its visage rendered a ruddy hue by our planet’s atmospheric filtering of the sun’s light. This time the moon moves between us and our star, taking “a bite out of the sun,” as NASA describes it.
Exciting astronomers is the prospect of a massive sunspot that will be turned straight toward Earth just as the eclipse hits. With the right gear, one could catch a glimpse of this blemish whose size dwarfs the Earth and could unleash powerful flares in our direction. By gear we mean, under no circumstances should anyone observe this eclipse without correct eye protection.
Even though the eclipse will be only partial—which is to say, the moon will not completely obscure the sun’s disk, just a portion that leaves a crescent of sun visible—it will make for a stunning sunset on the East Coast.
“The eclipse will be especially beautiful in eastern parts of the USA, where the moon and sun line up at the end of the day, transforming the usual sunset into something weird and wonderful,” NASA says in a statement previewing the event. “A partial eclipse may not be total, but it is totally fun.”
Below, see NASA’s video explaining exactly what will happen and detailing all the best places to watch, as well as—most important of all—listing a few methods of viewing without endangering one’s eyes.