Partial Solar Eclipses

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When the Sun is completely blocked out we called it a total solar eclipse, and often this is what people think of with an eclipse. But a partial eclipse can be just as exciting.

When the Moon comes just shy of completely blocking out the Sun a bright ring or annulus is visible.
This is a special kind of partial eclipse, an annular eclipse.

Partial Lunar Eclipse

This composite image of seven pictures shows the progression of a partial solar eclipse near from Ross Lake, Northern Cascades National Park, Washington on Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. The second to the last frame shows the International Space Station, with a crew of six onboard, in silhouette as it transits the Sun at roughly five miles per second. A total solar eclipse swept across a narrow portion of the contiguous United States from Lincoln Beach, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. A partial solar eclipse was visible across the entire North American continent along with parts of South America, Africa, and Europe.

Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

The Experience

If you’re not in the direct path for a total or annular eclipse—but still within the outside of the path—this is what you may have seen with proper eye protection.

In some places, viewers didn’t get to see this ring around the Moon. However, they experienced a partial solar eclipse if within range as the map above shows. This happens when the Sun, Moon, and Earth are not exactly lined up. The Sun will appeared to have a dark shadow on only part of its surface. Viewers in parts of the eastern United States and northern Alaska saw a partial solar eclipse on June 10, along with much of Canada and parts of the Caribbean, Europe, Asia, and northern Africa.

In the United States, the partial eclipse was visible along parts of the Southeast, Northeast, Midwest, and in Northern Alaska. In many of these locations, the eclipse will occur before, during, and shortly after sunrise. This meant that viewers will need to get a clear view of the horizon during sunrise in order to see the eclipse.

 

June 10, 2021

“I got very lucky! I was on top of a 6-story parking lot, right above the treeline in the direction of the sunrise. At the maximum point, the sun was coming from from a cloud bank. I was able to see the partial eclipse through a narrow break in the clouds before it disappeared into the clouds above!

I had eclipse glasses and Alex’s solar binoculars with magnification. I highly recommend preparing for your next viewing opportunity by getting a pair with as much magnification as you can. Also figure out some tricks to steady them—practice ahead and look for tips online. I steadied them on my car’s roof and could see the partial eclipse and wisps of clouds. I also called Alex to share in the excitement. He had just finished a radio interview about it, and was busy sharing post on our social feeds.

I only had a few precious minutes, so I watched and quickly snapped a photo to show the conditions, but didn’t try to mess with a better photo capturing the eclipse. There are plenty of other people with better conditions who captured it, and my plan was to gather some here. Next time you see an eclipse, be in the moment & enjoy it! Appreciate seeing one of the wonders of the universe with your own eyes.

The photos below show how the viewing conditions also lined up perfectly: just above the trees, to the left of highrise buildings, finding an easy-to-access location to see it, and narrow break in the clouds!

As a bonus, I had a serenade of 17-year-cicadas! Total solar eclipses have the 360-degree sunset effect, but I had the 360-degree sunrise+cicada effect. Truly spectacular!

The only downside is that C. Alex Young (The Sun Today co-founder & my husband) was in Georgia and out of range of viewing it. We have each seen 2 of the past solar eclipses, but none together. It’s another reminder of just how special these moments are. It’s worth a little bit of effort to try and see it. Each one is unique. Even if you’re in the right place at the right time, you can still have a cloud blocking your view. We have both experienced that disappointment. The upside is those disappointments mean that I appreciated this partial solar eclipse even more!

If you couldn’t see it, or like my friend feel frustrated that you didn’t wake up for it…take a breath and let that go. Take some time when you can to check out what other people are sharing. That’s part of the joy of eclipses! Everyone has an experience and it’s amazing to share. Focus on this, and feel the excitement from what others were able to capture. The universe is a big place. We will never see everything with our own eyes. Learn to enjoy what others have found, and you’ll still feel joy. There is a lot of sadness in people’s hearts, and space is an opportunity to step outside of that, even if only second-hand and/or for a few moments. Enjoy!”

– Linda Schenk, The Sun Today co-founder • June 10, 2021

 

Partial Solar Eclipse viewing conditions - between the clouds at sunrise in Towson, MD! Thursday, June 10, 2021 - photo by Linda Schenk
Partial Solar Eclipse viewing conditions - between the clouds at sunrise in Towson, MD! Thursday, June 10, 2021 - photo by Linda Schenk
Partial Solar Eclipse - Thursday, June 10, 2021 - photo by Linda Schenk, graphic by TimeandDate.com
Partial Solar Eclipse - Thursday, June 10, 2021 - photo by Linda Schenk, graphic by TimeandDate.com

Eclipse Highlights

June 10, 2021

Eclipse Flyby - June 10, 2021 Partial Solar Eclipse - Image Credit & Copyright: Zev Hoover, Christian A. Lockwood, and Zoe Chakoian
Eclipse Flyby – Image Credit & Copyright: Zev Hoover, Christian A. Lockwood, and Zoe Chakoian

Explanation: On June 10 a New Moon passed in front of the Sun. In silhouette only two days after reaching apogee, the most distant point in its elliptical orbit, the Moon’s small apparent size helped create an annular solar eclipse. The brief but spectacular annular phase of the eclipse shows a bright solar disk as a ring of fire when viewed along its narrow, northerly shadow track across planet Earth. Cloudy early morning skies along the US east coast held gorgeous views of a partially eclipsed Sun though. Rising together Moon and Sun are captured in a sequence of consecutive frames near maximum eclipse in this digital composite, seen from Quincy Beach south of Boston, Massachusetts. The serendipitous sequence follows the undulating path of a bird in flight joining the Moon in silhouette with the rising Sun.

December 4, 2021

PROTECT YOUR EYES!

Unlike a total solar eclipse, at no time will this be safe to view with the naked eyes. Be sure to carefully read the details to understand how to protect your eyes! Homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, are not safe for looking at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed Sun.