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How to view Thursday morning’s partial solar eclipse in northwest Ohio

Viewing window falls between 5:59am and 6:36am; less than 50% of Sun will be covered
Updated: Jun. 9, 2021 at 6:58 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - A crescent, a smile, even Pac-Man: No matter the comparison, Thursday morning’s partial solar eclipse may look downright weird in the low eastern sky.

University of Toledo professor and Ritter Planetarium director Dr. Mike Cushing says the event won’t be as spectacular as 2017′s total eclipse, but it’s still worth a look -- if you’re up that early. “When the sun rises around 6am, it’ll do so under a partial solar eclipse, which means a small part of the sun will appear blocked -- just under 50%. The path of totality actually goes over the North Pole... we’re in what’s called a ‘penumbral shadow’, so we only get a partial eclipse.”

5:59am to 6:36am is our viewing window in Toledo -- though as with any celestial event, cloud cover will be the wildcard. Since the moon is so far from Earth at the moment, it won’t entirely block the sun even in totality, leading many to dub it the “ring of fire” -- more properly, an annular eclipse.

The time of day will dilute the more harmful UV rays, but as good practice, you should still never look directly at the sun -- even that early in the morning. “When you’re looking directly above you, you’re looking through the minimum amount of atmosphere,” explains Dr. Cushing, “whereas when you’re looking on the horizon, you’re looking through as much atmosphere as you can, and there’s more distortion. We have a better solar eclipse coming in 2024, when Toledo will be right on the edge of totality, so that’ll be an absolutely spectacular eclipse.”

Any leftover viewing glasses from a few years back or #14 welder’s glass would come in handy, or you can even use trees for safer indirect viewing. “The gaps in the leaves as sunlight filters through the tree act as pinhole cameras,” Dr. Cushing says, “and will project an image of the sun onto the ground -- or in this case, since it’s rising so close to the horizon, on a wall or the side of your house.”

There’s always the DIY route as well: “You can go online and find how to make pinhole cameras using just cardboard, some aluminum foil and a nail, and you can see the eclipse for about a half-hour after sunrise.”

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