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Where to see Saturday's solar eclipse in CT

Solar eclipse is seen during early hours of morning in New York, United States on June 10, 2021. (Photo by Islam Dogru/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Islam Dogru
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
NEW YORK, USA - JUNE 10: Solar eclipse is seen during early hours of morning on June 10, 2021.

A partial solar eclipse is happening in Connecticut on Saturday afternoon.

Annular eclipses happen when the moon is farther away from the Earth than usual, making it appear not quite big enough to cover the sun, said Meredith Hughes, an associate professor of astronomy at Wesleyan University.

Visible in parts of the United States, Mexico, and many countries in South and Central America, millions of people in the Western Hemisphere can experience Saturday's annular eclipse, NASA says.

In the parts of the western U.S., the sun will look like a ring of fire in the sky.

In Connecticut, the eclipse won’t be as intense. Clouds may obscure the show, but if they part around midday, there will still be something to see.

“From Connecticut, we'll see roughly 20% of the sun covered up by the moon,” Hughes said in an email. “That means that the eclipse will make it look like the sun is a cookie and the moon is taking a bite out of it.”

The partial eclipse will peak in Connecticut around 1:20 p.m.

Don’t look at the sun. Here’s how to safely see the eclipse

Never look directly at the sun to view the eclipse. Instead, use eclipse glasses, watch through welder's glass 13 or higher, or use an ISO-certified solar viewer, Hughes said.

You can also view the eclipse by projection. Take anything with small holes in it and hold it above a piece of paper or the sidewalk until the disk of the sun comes into focus on the surface.

“You can cut a hole out of a piece of cardboard, tape a piece of aluminum foil over the hole, and make a tiny hole with the tip of a pencil,” Hughes said. “Or you can get more creative and use anything with one or more small holes, like a colander or even a Ritz cracker.”

“Just don't look through the holes at the sun directly,” Hughes said.

Where to see it

If the weather cooperates, the partial eclipse will be visible statewide.

In Middletown, Wesleyan is teaming up with the Russell Library to hold a viewing at Wesleyan’s Van Vleck observatory at 96 Foss Hill Dr. The event will be held rain or shine, from 12:30-2:30 p.m. If the weather is cloudy, the eclipse will also be streamed live on NASA TV.

An inflatable planetarium will be at the Middletown event and books on space will be available. The event is free and open to the public, Hughes said.

Saturday’s eclipse is ‘dress rehearsal’ for next year

Saturday’s sky show may whet your appetite for a bigger celestial show.

“I've been thinking of this eclipse as our ’dress rehearsal’ for the total eclipse on April 8, 2024,” Hughes said. “The path of totality will go across the U.S. from Texas to northern Vermont, and here in Connecticut we'll see about 92% of the sun covered up by the moon.

Hotels around New England have already been booking up in anticipation of that event.

“It'll be a spectacular sight, so save your eclipse glasses,” she said.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated when annular eclipses occur. They happen when the moon is farther away from the Earth, not the sun, than usual.

Patrick Skahill is a reporter and digital editor at Connecticut Public. Prior to becoming a reporter, he was the founding producer of Connecticut Public Radio's The Colin McEnroe Show, which began in 2009. Patrick's reporting has appeared on NPR's Morning Edition, Here & Now, and All Things Considered. He has also reported for the Marketplace Morning Report. He can be reached at pskahill@ctpublic.org.

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