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Solar eclipse 2021 live: Where and when to see the “Ring of Fire”

Wake up to a solar eclipse.

Every few years or so somewhere on earth, the migrations of our planet, sun and moon cause them to line up like billiard balls on a velvet space table. Seeing worlds vanish one after another during a solar eclipse can make you cry or scream. But getting to that point often takes hard work and maybe even a bit of luck.

This proved to be just as true for the Thursday eclipse as it has been for people following these heavenly events.

Shortly after sunrise over the eastern half of North America, the sun was almost completely hidden by the moon in an annular solar eclipse for a few hours in the morning.

During such a solar eclipse, the moon’s black silhouette – too far from Earth to completely cover the sun – is surrounded by a thin ring of the surface of our home star, or photosphere. Many know this as a “ring of fire”, but only a few will experience the full effect.

The solar eclipse began north of Lake Superior after sunrise and began traversing remote regions of Canada on its way to Greenland and the Arctic Ocean before crossing the North Pole. Its course then heads south before ending in parts of the Russian Far East.

Still, some lucky souls will experience this cosmic geometry, and some were even intrepid and well organized enough to book airplane flights into the zone of maximum darkness. Many more of us will experience a partial solar eclipse if we wake up early to have clear enough skies.

– Dennis Overbye

Ask the clouds to part.

Clouds hung on the horizon in Manhattan at sunrise, but they didn’t spoil the excitement of about 25 guests who arrived at the Empire State Building at 4:30 a.m. on Thursday.

It was dark and windy when the visitors sat on the viewing platform in 86.

As the sky got lighter and the clouds turned fuchsia pink. Attendees at the event, who each paid $ 114.81 to be there, could beg the skyline to clean up so they could have a better view.

Everyone’s eyes were on a patch of horizon between two other iconic skyscrapers – the MetLife Building and the Chrysler Building.

Eventually the sun rose and the solar eclipse was visible through the cloud cover, albeit a little blurry.

“The first time you looked at the sun, you could hear the reaction of the entire audience,” said Jean-Yves Ghazi, president of the Empire State Building Observatory. “Everyone was gasping and it was absolutely magical.”

While some in New York went vertically, others left town hoping to get a better view of the solar eclipse.

Early Wednesday, Mike Kentrianakis, a lifelong eclipse hunter, arrived at an inn in Greece, NY, near the shores of Lake Ontario. He had originally helped organize an event for an eclipse clock on Randalls Island, New York City. But clouds in the weather forecast motivated him to take a seven-hour drive in search of a more beautiful sky in the hinterland.

At sunrise on Thursday, he planned to see the tips of the veiled sun rise over Lake Ontario.

“Like devil horns.” said Mr. Kentrianakis. “You can even wiggle like a snake.”

– Claire Fahy & Sabrina Imbler

Eclipse Air flies.

Jay Pasachoff, an astronomer at Williams College, has followed solar eclipses around the world and wasn’t about to miss them.

He, his wife Naomi, and about 30 other people boarded a three-hour Delta flight from Minneapolis into the dark and back. The trip was sponsored by Sky and Telescope magazine and led by Kelly Beatty, a senior editor for the magazine.

According to the price list, seats on the plane cost up to $ 3,100.

The plane flew at 9,000 feet and was 5,000 feet above the clouds, which gave the Pasachoffs and their fellow travelers a long glimpse of the solar eclipse.

“We were able to see the eclipsed sun for about half an hour, with four and a half minutes seeing the bright ring around the black silhouette of the moon,” he wrote in an email.

He added that it was the 73rd solar eclipse and the 19th annular solar eclipse that he had seen.

– Dennis Overbye

How can I watch the solar eclipse?

The ring of fire will be visible across a narrow band in the extreme northern latitudes, beginning near Lake Superior in Ontario, Canada at sunrise or 5:55 a.m. Eastern Time. It then crosses Greenland, the Arctic Ocean and the North Pole and ends in Siberia at sunset or 7:29 a.m. EST.

Outside this streak, observers will see a crescent-shaped sun or a partial solar eclipse. The closer they are to the center line, the more sun is lost.

In the New York metropolitan area, Mr. Kentrianakis, who was the American Astronomical Society’s eclipse project manager during the 2017 great solar eclipse, said about two-thirds of the sun was overcast by the time it rose at 5:25 a.m. Eastern Time and reached a maximum eclipse of almost 73 percent at 5:32 a.m.

Can I see the solar eclipse online?

There are a number of options for viewing a stream of the solar eclipse, one of which is embedded at the top.

NASA will begin its video coverage on YouTube at 5 a.m. EST, though the agency says visibility will be dark until 5:47 a.m.

Other websites, including and Virtual Telescope, will also provide streams from various locations, also starting at 5 a.m.

Is it safe to view a partial solar eclipse or an annular one?

No. Without special protective goggles, it is never advisable to look directly into the sun, even if it is partially or in a ring eclipse.

Exposure to intense sunlight during a solar eclipse can injure your retina that may not heal. Such damage can lead to permanent vision loss, depending on how much exposure you experience.

For safety, wear eclipse glasses while viewing the eclipse. No sunglasses – solar eclipse glasses, as you might have put them in a drawer after the “Great American Eclipse” in 2017.

But if you can’t get glasses or other filtering viewers in time for Thursday’s eclipse, there are other things you can do, like making a pinhole projector at home out of cardboard or a paper plate. Here are some instructions.

If you want to be better prepared the next time a solar eclipse occurs in your area, here is a list of reputable providers from the American Astronomical Society.

‘Something We Can Share Separately’ in Canada.

The Annularity Path in Canada passed through many places that would have been difficult to visit in normal times. Covid-19 restrictions made this even more difficult, and large groups were advised against traveling and congregating in Ontario and Quebec.

“We just encourage people to view them safely as individuals and in their social bubbles,” and stay at home or in a safe place, said Mike Reid, public relations coordinator at the Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics at the University of Toronto.

While these requirements are in stark contrast to the situation in 2017, when huge crowds gathered across North America to watch the total solar eclipse, said Dr. Reid, there is a silver lining: The pandemic prompted the Institute and colleagues at Discover the Universe, and Quebec-based astronomy education program, to send 20,000 eclipse viewers to people in and around the eclipse path, including in Nunavut, a Canadian territory whose population is mainly Inuit.

“Because they are in pretty remote locations, we wanted to make sure they had the footage to watch,” said Julie Bolduc-Duval, executive director of Discover the Universe.

Dr. Reid added, “We’re in a situation in this pandemic where everyone is forced to stay home, but it actually helped bring everyone together on this one thing.”

Sudbury, Ontario is outside the path of annularity but has still experienced an 85 percent solar eclipse. Olathe MacIntyre, a research fellow at Space Place and the planetarium of the Science North Museum there, planned to contribute to a live stream of the solar eclipse on Thursday.

“It’s something we can share separately,” said Dr. MacIntyre.

– Becky Ferreira

Preparing for the solar eclipse in Greenland and Russia.

Pat Smith works in Greenland for Polar Field Services, a National Science Foundation company that helps scientists and others plan expeditions to remote parts of the Arctic. Mr. Smith plans to observe the solar eclipse at a location near Thule Air Base, the northernmost American military base about 700 miles from the Arctic Circle.

The location, North Mountain, is within the path of the annular solar eclipse, which will last nearly four minutes there, and visibility conditions are expected to be clear. Mr. Smith planned to take photos during the event.

In Russia, the solar eclipse will only be fully visible in some of the most remote regions of the vast country to the east, closer to Alaska than Moscow.

Nevertheless, the Moscow Planetarium is planning to set up telescopes that will enable residents of the capital to experience the event, even though the sun is only supposed to be about 15 percent obscured there.

You can also visit the planetarium in Novosibirsk, the most populous city in Siberia. A local news website in town reminded residents to protect their eyes when looking at the sun.

– Becky Ferreira and Alina Lobzina

How rare is this type of solar eclipse?

Annular eclipses aren’t all that uncommon. A “Ring of Fire” put on a show in December 2019 in the Middle East as well as in South and Southeast Asia.

An interesting feature of this solar eclipse is that it moves north and crosses the North Pole before going south. That the solar eclipse occurs so far north is explained by its occurrence near the summer solstice, when the northern half of the planet approaches its most extreme tilt towards the sun.

The last time a crescent moon eclipse occurred in New York was in 1875, noted Mr. Kentrianakis. “And they complained, like us, about getting up so early,” he said.

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