The best areas for viewing the eclipse are western Canada and the United States, although those of you on the East Coast will still be able to observe the event, which will also be visible as far south as Mexico.
Observation timings for the solar eclipse
Alaskans should keep an eye on the sky from just before noon, with maximum eclipse being observed around 1:15 p.m., and the event ending shortly after 2:30 p.m. Those in the PST time zone need to be ready by 1:30 p.m., and New Yorkers will be able to observe a slight eclipse around 5:50 p.m. EST.
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TimeandDate.com has helpfully provided an “eclipse calculator” for more detailed local information.
Lunar eclipses are observable over large portions of the Earth, but solar eclipses are comparatively hard to see. Be sure to make the most of the opportunity.
Safety precautions for viewing the solar eclipse
The dangers of staring directly into the sun are heightened during a solar eclipse. There are various ways of ensuring the safety of you and your family during the event.
Welding glasses with a shade of at least 13, or specially made “eclipse glasses”, will both do the job. Keen photographers will need to protect both their eyes and their equipment, with camera lenses susceptible to damage if they are pointed at the sun for a long time. The Nikon website recommends buying “solar filters” in order to protect your equipment.
If you find yourself unprepared for the event, you can still watch the eclipse safely using a pinhole projector. There is a useful how-to guide here.
If your hometown is located outside the observation area, you can still watch the solar eclipse through the internet. Live coverage of the event will be provided by crowdsourced astronomy project Slooh from 5 p.m. EST.
Today’s partial solar eclipse may just whet your appetite for the upcoming total lunar eclipse in September 2015, as well as stotal solar eclipse in August 2017,