Rare Hybrid Solar Eclipse Early Sunday Morning


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There will be a partial solar eclipse visible in the eastern region of the U.S. early Sunday morning, one of only two on Earth this year.

The eclipse will be seen for only about 30 minutes after sunrise, at roughly 6:30 a.m. - Though remember that daylight saving time officially comes to an end at 2 a.m. Sunday morning. Due to some mathematical paradox I repeatedly fail to understand, a casual astronomer can grab an extra hour of sleep, by falling back. The eclipse will be seen on the entire East Coast of the U.S., and will move as far west as eastern Ohio, eastern Kentucky, eastern Tennessee and most of Georgia.

One should also remember that unlike a lunar eclipse, which requires no eyewear to see, viewing a solar eclipse without protection can cause severe retinal injury and blindness. One should wear glasses designed specifically for an eclipse, or use welder's glass No. 14.

Sunday's solar event is also a rare "hybrid" eclipse. From different vantages on Earth, the eclipse will present as "annular," to where the moon doesn't completely block out the sun, and also as "total," when the moon completely covers the sun. The annular eclipse will be seen in North America, and parts of Europe and Africa. Central African countries including Gabon, Uganda, Congo, Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia will see the total eclipse.

Totality will best be visible from the northern Atlantic Ocean, with a maximum eclipse of 1 minute and 39 seconds visible on the water, south of Ivory Coast and Ghana.

This will be the final eclipse of 2013, and the next opportunity to view a total solar eclipse from the vantage of the U.S. will occur on August 21, 2017.

Some precise eclipse times for the eastern seaboard:

New York City, NY
Sunrise: 6:29 a.m. EST
Partial eclipse ends: 7:11 a.m. EST

Miami, Florida
Sunrise: 6:31 a.m. EST
Partial eclipse ends: 7:02 a.m. EST

For those viewers in Eastern Kentucky, the weather forecast looks pretty good for clear skies.

Image via Wikimedia Commons.