Sky-gazers in New England, you are in for a treat on Thursday. But you’ll have to get up a little earlier in order to see it.
A “ring of fire” solar eclipse will be visible starting a little after 5 a.m. While Rhode Islanders will only be able to see a portion of it — the entire eclipse will be visible only in parts of central and eastern Canada, according to Space.com — what we will be able to see should still be pretty interesting, as long as skies are clear.
Get up, grab a cup of coffee and some eye protection (we have some suggestions here), and look to the east-northeast: The sun will just be starting to rise. Because the moon is only a couple of days past apogee (the part of its orbit that is farthest away from the earth), its shadow will seem smaller than usual. That means instead of a total eclipse of the sun, viewers will witness an annular eclipse: the smaller shadow of the moon will blot out less of the sun, and the sun will shine in a brilliant ring of light (an annulus) around the darkness. In Rhode Island, we won’t see a ring; the sun will appear crescent-shaped. Still pretty amazing.
The eclipse is expected to start before sunrise, with peak viewing at 5:32 a.m., and should end by about 6:30 a.m.