The wait is finally over – the great total solar eclipse of 2017 is happening next week on Monday, August 21st! During this astronomical event, the moon will completely cover the sun along the solar eclipse’s path of totality. While observers within the path of totality will have the chance to see the complete solar eclipse, here in the Capital Region, we’ll see the partial solar eclipse as the moon covers most of the sun.
Photo courtesy of NASA
Solar Eclipse 101
By now you’ve probably heard about the upcoming total solar eclipse, but how much do you know about it? A total solar eclipse is one of nature’s most breathtaking sights because the moon fully blocks the sun from view here on Earth. It happens during the New Moon phase, and the last time the U.S. saw one was in 1979!
When the great total solar eclipse begins on Monday, August 21st, it will travel from west to east across the U.S., from Oregon to South Carolina. The total eclipse will be visible within the path of totality, the eclipse’s 70-mile wide path across 14 states. Elsewhere, observers will see the partial eclipse during a specific period of time.
Witness The Partial Solar Eclipse
Everyone in North America will be able to see the partial solar eclipse, when the moon blocks part, but not all, of the sun. Regions closer to the path of totality will see a greater portion of the sun blocked.
When the eclipse makes its way to the Eastern U.S. and the Capital Region, a significant section of the sun will be blocked by the moon. According to NASA’s 2017 Eclipse website and map, about 65% of the sun will be obscured in the City of Albany.
Solar Eclipse Safety
Although it may be tempting to look at the partial solar eclipse directly, it is actually very harmful to your eyes. Everyday sunglasses and homemade filters won’t be strong enough to protect your eyes from the sun.
Instead, you’ll want to use special eclipse glasses, available online, or create a pinhole projector to see the eclipse’s projection on a surface.
- Eclipse Glasses – Some observatories, museums, and other sites hosting eclipse parties may provide eclipse glasses. Or, you can buy them online from reputable sources.
- Pinhole Projector – While you can use your hands during the eclipse to create a projection on the ground, another way to see the eclipse is by making pinholes in a piece of paper and holding it above the ground. The pinholes will project stages of the eclipse on the ground.
Best Places To See The Eclipse
Although observers will be able to see the partial solar eclipse anywhere with a view of the sky, there are some ideal locations you may want to travel to in and around the Capital Region for the celestial event.
- Albany, NY – The Henry Hudson Planetarium will host a special show featuring the eclipse.
- Clifton Park, NY – Head to the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Library for a viewing party.
- Schenectady, NY – Come see the eclipse at miSci’s Dudley Observatory.
- Sherburne, NY – Join the Rogers Environmental Education Center for a viewing party.
- Pittsfield, MA – Berkshire Family Focus will host a free eclipse viewing party for families.
- Northern Catskills, NY – Climb your favorite peak in the Northern Catskills in time for the event.
At each of these locations, the partial eclipse will begin around 1:20pm. For specifics, you can check out NASA’s interactive eclipse map.
Where will you watch the partial solar eclipse?