The deepest partial solar eclipse in a generation is headed to Southern California this weekend. What's the best way to view it? Where are the best places to go? Check out this Q&A below.
Q: What's the best place to view the eclipse in Southern California?
A: The partial solar eclipse will occur late in the day in Southern California on Sunday, beginning at 5:24 p.m., reaching its maximum coverage at 6:38 p.m., and exiting the sun's path at 7:42 p.m., just 10 minutes before sunset. "That means the sun is fairly low in the northwest, and you want a clear view of the northwest horizon," said Griffith Observatory director Ed Krupp.
He suggested a place with a clear view of the northwest, with an elevated view and a clear horizon, to see the moon obscure the sun's beams. Griffith Observatory, which is run by the city of Los Angeles, will have extra telescopes and staff on hand to help people view the eclipse for free.
"They'll be seeing something that is really unusual -- a big bite coming out of the sun. And that's the real charm of this event," Krupp said.
Q: How big of a bite will the moon's shadow take of the sun?
A: According to the Griffith Observatory, 86% of the sun's diameter will be covered up by the moon. (That statistic is the standard one astronomers like to use; lay people may prefer knowing that 79% of the area of the sun will be covered up.) "It's a pretty deep eclipse here in Los Angeles," Krupp said.
Q: When was the last time Southern California saw such a deep partial eclipse?
A: The last time we saw such an extensive solar eclipse was in 1992, according to the Griffith Observatory.
The next partial eclipses to hit Southern California will be Oct. 23, 2014, and Aug. 21, 2017, but both of those also won't be as impressive as this weekend's, Krupp said.