We are just a week away from the first of two eclipses of the Sun coming to North America in this school year. On Saturday, Oct. 14, most of us will see a nice partial eclipse. But on a narrow path from Oregon to eastern Texas, people will see a “ring of fire” eclipse, where the Moon is too far away to completely cover the Sun and a ring of sunlight can be seen around the Moon’s dark disk.
To find out what the eclipse will look like in your community and when it will happen, please go to: https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/solar/2023-october-14 Put your town in the box. When you get the results, it will be in local time. The term “magnitude” means what % of the Sun’s diameter will be covered by the Moon.
I will be doing a free Zoom session on this eclipse (and another one coming next April, that will be a total eclipse on a narrow path through the U.S.) The talk is for the Oakland Public Library, on Tuesday evening, Oct. 10, from 6 to 7 Pacific time; but anyone can register at: https://oaklandlibrary.bibliocommons.com/…/64f914c85a7c…
If you want to read more about the two eclipse and how to observe them safely, check out the booklet I helped write aimed at teachers: http://bit.ly/eclipsesforteachers — or the one for librarians and their patrons at: http://bit.ly/eclipsesforlibraries
Some public libraries may still have free safe-viewing eclipse glasses left at this late date, but many may have run out, so please be nice to the librarian if they can’t help you. (The Moore Foundation paid for 5 million such glasses to be distributed to 13,000 public libraries.)
My favorite way to observe the partial eclipse is to take an ordinary household colander, stand with your back to the Sun, and hold the colander over your shoulder. The shadow of the colander on the pavement will show many eclipsed Suns where the holes have allowed the light through. (It’s called a pinhole projector.) And if you are out on your street next Saturday, holding a colander over your shoulder, the neighbors might well get interested in what the heck you are doing, and join you in appreciating the predictable mechanism of our cosmic motions.
I wish you clear skies on Saturday.
P.S. If you have kids or grandkids, and they have questions, you might enjoy the children’s book I wrote about eclipses, When the Sun Goes Dark, available on Amazon or here: http://bit.ly/sungoesdark