Waking up to an eclipse.
Every few years, somewhere on Earth, the wanderings of our planet, the sun and the moon make them line up like billiard balls on a velvet cosmic table. Seeing worlds disappearing one after the other in an eclipse can make you cry or scream. But reaching this point often requires hard work and maybe even a little luck.
This proved to be true of the eclipse on Thursday, as well as since humans began to pursue these celestial phenomena.
Just after sunrise over the eastern half of North America, the sun was almost completely wiped off the moon for a few dawns in an annular solar eclipse.
The eclipse began after sunrise north of Lake Superior and began crossing remote regions of Canada, en route to Greenland and the Arctic Ocean, before crossing the North Pole. Her course then headed south before ending in parts of the Russian Far East.
However, some lucky souls will be able to experience this cosmic geometry, and some have even been fearless and well enough organized to book flights in the zone of maximum darkness. Many more of us will get a partial solar eclipse if we wake up early to clear the sky enough.
Asking the clouds to part.
Clouds hung on the Manhattan skyline at sunrise, but they did not dampen the enthusiasm of about 25 guests who had begun arriving at the Empire State Building at 4:30 a.m. Thursday.
It was dark and windy as visitors scattered on the 86th floor observation deck 1,050 feet above downtown, adjusting camera lenses and refining their positions as they waited for the sun to rise.
As the sky began to lighten and the clouds took on shades of pink fuchsia. Event attendees, who had paid $ 114.81 to be there, could be eavesdropped on asking the horizon to clear for a better view.
Everyone’s eyes were on the horizon between two other iconic skyscrapers, the MetLife building and the Chrysler building.
Finally the sun rose and the eclipse was seen – albeit a little dimly – through the cloud cover.
“You can hear the whole audience react to the first sight of the sun,” said Jean-Yves Gazi, president of the Empire State Building Observatory. “Everyone gasped and it was absolutely magical.”
While some crossed vertically into New York, others left the city in hopes of getting a better view of the eclipse.
Early Wednesday, Mike Kentrianakis, a lifelong eclipse hunter, arrived at an inn in Greece, New York, off the coast of Lake Ontario. He had originally helped organize an eclipse clock event on Randals Island in New York. But the clouds in the forecast motivated him to make a seven-hour journey in search of a fairer sky in the northern part of the country.
At sunrise on Thursday, he planned to watch the peaks of the covered sun rise over Lake Ontario.
“Like devil’s horns,” said Mr. Kentrianakis. “They can even twist like a snake.”
“Claire Fahi and Sabrina Imbler.”
Eclipse Air takes off.
Jay Pasachov, an astronomer at Williams College, is chasing eclipses around the world and has no plans to miss it.
He, his wife Naomi, and about 30 others boarded a three-hour Delta flight from Minneapolis in the dark and back. The trip was sponsored by Sky and Telescope magazine and led by Kelly Beatty, the magazine’s senior editor.
The seats on the plane reached $ 3,100 according to the price list.
The plane flew 39,000 feet and was 5,000 feet above the clouds, giving Pasachoffs and their companions a long view of the eclipse.
“We were able to see the eclipsed sun for about half an hour, with four and a half minutes during which we saw the bright ring around the black silhouette of the moon,” he wrote in an email.
He added that this was the 73rd solar eclipse and the 19th ring eclipse he had seen.
How can I watch the eclipse?
The Ring of Fire will be visible in a narrow strip in the far northern latitudes, beginning near Lake Superior in Ontario, Canada, at sunrise or 5:55 p.m. Eastern time. It will then cross Greenland, the Arctic Ocean and the North Pole, ending in Siberia at sunset or 7:29 Eastern time.
Outside this strip, observers will see a crescent moon or partial solar eclipse. The closer they are to the center line, the more sun will disappear.
In the metropolitan area of New York, said Mr. Kentrianakis, who was head of the Eclipse project for the American Astronomical Society during the Great Eclipse in 2017, the sun was covered by about two-thirds when it rose at 5:25 p.m. time, reaching a maximum eclipse of nearly 73 percent at 5:32 p.m.
Can I watch the eclipse online?
There are a number of options for watching an eclipse stream, one of which is built into the above.
NASA will begin its video coverage on YouTube at 5 a.m. Eastern Time, although the agency says the view will be dark until 5:47 p.m.
Other websites, including Timeanddate.com and Virtual Telescope, will also provide streams from various locations, also starting at 5 a.m.
Is it safe to look at a partial solar eclipse or an annular one?
No. Unless you wear special goggles, it’s never a good idea to look directly at the sun, even if it’s partially or annularly darkened.
Exposure to intense sunlight during an eclipse can cause retinal injuries that may not heal. Such damage can lead to permanent vision loss, depending on how much exposure you experience.
To be safe, wear sunglasses while watching the eclipse. No sunglasses – sunglasses, like the ones you may have put in your drawer after the 2017 Great American Eclipse.
But if you can’t pick up glasses or other filtering spectators in time for Thursday’s eclipse, there are other things you can do, such as make a hole projector at home with cardboard or a paper plate. Here are some instructions.
If you want to be more prepared the next time there is a solar eclipse near you, here is a list of respected suppliers from the American Astronomical Society.
“Something we can share separately” in Canada.
The Ring Road in Canada has passed through many places that would be difficult to visit in normal times. Covid-19 restrictions make this difficult, and large groups are not recommended to travel and gather in Ontario and Quebec.
“We just encourage people to look at it safely as individuals and in their social bubbles,” and stay at home or in a safe place, said Mike Reed, public coordinator at the Dunlap Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Toronto.
Although these demands are in stark contrast to the situation in 2017, when huge crowds gathered in North America to watch a total solar eclipse, Dr. Reid said it had a silver lining: The pandemic prompted the institute and colleagues at Discover the Universe , a Quebec-based astronomy training program to send 20,000 spectators to an eclipse of people in and around the path of the eclipse, including in Nunavut, a Canadian territory whose population is predominantly Inuit.
“Because they’re in very remote places, we wanted to make sure they had the material to watch it,” said Julie Bolduk-Duvall, executive director of Discover the Universe.
Dr Reed added: “We are in a situation where this pandemic is forcing everyone to stay at home, but it has actually helped bring everyone together for this one thing.”
Sudbury, Ontario, is out of the way of ringing, but has survived an 85 percent solar eclipse. Olate McIntyre, a scientist at Space Place and the Science North Planetarium, a museum there, plans to contribute to Thursday’s live broadcast of the eclipse.
“It’s something we can share separately,” Dr. McIntyre said.
Preparations for the eclipse in Greenland and Russia.
Pat Smith works in Greenland for Polar Field Services, a company contracted with the National Science Foundation to help scientists and others plan expeditions to remote parts of the Arctic. Mr Smith plans to see the eclipse on site near Thule Air Force Base, the northernmost US military base, which is about 700 miles from the Arctic Circle.
The place, North Mountain, is on the way to the annular eclipse, which will last nearly four minutes there, and the viewing conditions are expected to be clear. Mr. Smith plans to take pictures during the event.
In Russia, the eclipse will be fully visible only in some of the most remote regions of the vast east, closer to Alaska than to Moscow.
Nevertheless, the Moscow Planetarium plans to set up telescopes to allow residents of the capital to witness the event, although only about 15 percent of the sun is expected to be hidden there.
The Planetarium in Novosibirsk, the most densely populated city in Siberia, will also host the viewing. A local news site in the city reminded residents to keep an eye out for the sun.
– Becky Ferreira and Alina Lobzina
How rare is this type of eclipse?
Ring eclipses are not so uncommon. “Ring of Fire” performed in the Middle East and South and Southeast Asia in December 2019.
An interesting feature of this eclipse is that it will move north, crossing the North Pole before heading south. The fact that the eclipse occurs so far north is explained by its appearance near the summer solstice, when the northern half of the planet is close to its most extreme inclination to the sun.
The last lunar eclipse in New York was in 1875, said Mr. Kentrianakis. “And they complained like us that they were getting up so early,” he said.