This Saturday, October 14th, an annular solar eclipse will be visible around the United States. Earning the nickname of the “Ring of Fire” eclipse, the annular eclipse occurs when the moon and the sun are lined up in a perfect way for the moon to block out the sun nearly entirely, leaving just a red outer rim visible. The glowing red edge of the sun visible behind the moon creates a stunning sight to see but also an incredibly dangerous one to gaze upon with just the naked eye.
Here is what you can expect from the eclipse.
What/how much of the eclipse you can view will depend on where you are located. In Maryland, NASA reports that approximately 30% of the sun will be blocked during the eclipse’s peak. This means that, unfortunately, for most Maryland residents the eclipse will not actually look like the ring of fire that serves as the namesake for the phenomenon. However, it will still look very unique and cool!
The best time to check out the eclipse from Maryland will be roughly between 12:34 p.m. and 2:39 p.m. according to NASA’s reports. The peak should occur at about 1:18 p.m. While it could still change, weather conditions in some parts of the state may cause disruptions from seeing the eclipse. There is a high likelihood of clouds and/or rain, but we are still hopeful for this forecast to update and show clear skies perfect for viewing!
Now, how can I view it?
This is a great and especially important question. Viewing the eclipse with the naked eye can be extremely dangerous and cause considerable damage to the eye and your vision. When looking at the eclipse, you will want to do so with protective eye gear. They make specialty eclipse glasses that you can buy and wear for this eclipse and the various other ones that are stunning but dangerous to look at with a bare eye. You can also use a special solar viewer, which is a piece of material with a screen in the middle of it that allows you to safely gaze at the sun.
It is important to understand that regular sunglasses are not appropriate protective eye gear. Sunglasses are meant to shield eyes looking around at normal perspectives of earth, not meant to look directly at the sun. No matter how dark they are, they are NOT safe enough to use to view the eclipse.