In the early morning of Thursday, June 10, 2021, northern and eastern portions of North America will undergo a weird and dramatic event—an annular solar eclipse will be visible and, for most, it will closely coincide with sunrise.
The viewing zone will fall anywhere north and east of a line running roughly from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, to Evansville, Indiana, extending on to the Atlantic coast near Savannah, Georgia.
Depending on where you are, if your sky is clear, the rising Sun will be somewhat unusual and appear either slightly dented, deeply crescent-shaped, or ring-shaped. If you live in New York State, New England, as well as southern portions of Ontario and Quebec, the Sun will come up looking like a crescent Moon with cusps pointed upward.
Note About The Above Eclipse Map: The map depicts the shape of the solar crescent at the times of maximum partial phase. Interpolation will indicate how the crescent will look at other locations. For example, observers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, can estimate from how the crescents look in Cleveland and Washington that they’ll be seeing about 67 percent coverage. The crescents are shown oriented to match their appearance in the sky, with the observer’s zenith at the top in each case. Also illustrated is the negative path of annularity, where maximum eclipse occurs before sunrise. Observers at locations within this zone should be alert for unusual morning twilight illumination.
Who Gets The Best View?
For those living south and west of this line, you will either be just outside of where the Moon’s shadow will fall, or the eclipse will have ended before the Sun rises. So, unfortunately, much of the central and western parts of the continent will miss out on seeing this unusual solar show.
Across parts of central and northern Canada—starting from the north shore of Lake Superior then heading north through western and northern Ontario, northern Quebec, and the most northerly territory of Canada, Nunavut—viewers located within a path averaging about 380 miles wide will have a front-row seat to witness the rare and exciting spectacle of an annular or “ring of fire” eclipse.
Toronto will see 86 percent of the Sun’s diameter eclipsed, 85 percent in Montreal, and 80 percent for New York and Boston.
“Ring of Fire” – What Is An Annular Eclipse?
Because the Moon will be 251,200 miles from Earth on this day, its disk will appear somewhat smaller than the Sun—5.6 percent smaller to be exact. As such, when the Moon passes directly in front of the Sun, it will not totally cover it, but instead, create a ring of sunlight. Hence, the term “annular” eclipse, derived from the Latin annulus, meaning ring-shaped. Call it a “penny-on-nickel effect” with the nickel representing the Sun and the penny, the Moon.
The annular phase will last 3 minutes 50 seconds if you are on the centerline. Nearer to the edge of the path the duration will be shorter and the ring will look lopsided, with one side shining brighter than the other.
But even if you’re not positioned within the track of the ring phase, you’ll still get a spectacular view as the partial eclipse is definitely a must-see most everywhere from the mid-Atlantic coast north and westward.
If you’re unable to see the eclipse from where you are or simply want a better view picture, NASA is streaming the event—watch it here!
The live streaming begins at 5 a.m.
Consult the table below and our accompanying eclipse map to gauge what the eclipse might look like from your hometown.
June 10, 2021 Solar Eclipse Timetable
|Location||Time Zone||Sunrise||Time (at max)||Mag (at max)||Eclipse Ends|
|Chicago, IL||CDT||5:18 a.m.||5:18 a.m.||35.6%||5:39 a.m.|
|Minneapolis, MN||CDT||5:29 a.m.||5:29 a.m.||30.4%||5:46 a.m.|
|New York, NY||EDT||5:24 a.m.||5:32 a.m.||79.7%||6:30 a.m.|
|Boston, MA||EDT||5:07 a.m||5:33 a.m.||80.0%||6:32 a.m.|
|Montreal, PQ||EDT||5:05 a.m||5:39 a.m.||85.0%||6:38 a.m.|
|Quebec City, PQ||EDT||4:51 a.m.||5:39 a.m||85.0%||6:40 a.m.|
|Toronto, ON||EDT||5:36 a.m.||5:40 a.m.||86.2%||6:38 a.m.|
|Washington, DC||EDT||5:45 a.m.||5:45 a.m.||68.6%||6:29 a.m.|
|Cleveland, OH||EDT||5:55 a.m||5:55 a.m.||66.6%||6:35 a.m.|
|Charleston, SC||EDT||6:14 a.m.||6:14 a.m.||11.7%||6:21 a.m.|
|Indianapolis, IN||EDT||6:19 a.m.||6:19 a.m.||29.4%||6:35 a.m.|
|Knoxville, TN||EDT||6:21 a.m||6:21 a.m.||12.3%||6:28 a.m.|
|Yarmouth, NS||ADT||5:42 a.m.||6:33 a.m.||78.6%||7:33 a.m.|
Safely Viewing the Eclipse
Of course, there will be warnings to the public not to risk blindness by carelessly looking at it. This has given most people the idea that eclipses are dangerous. Not so! It’s the Sun that’s dangerous and all the time! Ordinarily, we have no reason to gaze at it. An eclipse gives us a reason, but we shouldn’t.
The only recommended safe filters— those known to block invisible but damaging infrared and ultraviolet rays–are a rectangular arc welder’s glass that dims the Sun comfortably in visual light (shade #14 for a normal bright Sun), or a metalized filter such as Mylar made specifically for Sun viewing. On a telescope, binoculars, or camera, the filter must be attached securely over the front of the instrument, never behind the eyepiece.
The safest way to watch is by means of projecting the Sun’s image onto a white sheet of paper or cardboard. Poke a small hole in an index card with a pencil point and hold a second card two or three feet behind it. For a nice, sharp image some have used a tiny pinhole pierced in aluminum foil. Telescopes and binoculars can project a much larger, sharper, and brighter image of the Sun which can also show any sunspot groups that may be present. Just be sure no one looks at the Sun through the instrument!
But what if a thick horizon haze significantly attenuates the Sun’s light, dimming and reddening it to such a degree that tempts you to look directly at it? Admittedly, just about all of us have watched such sunrises all our lives without giving it a second thought. But while it is true that the Sun’s visible and ultraviolet rays may be significantly diminished, its infrared rays can still freely penetrate through haze, however thick it may be. So, caution is still advised. Damage to your retina can happen without any sense of pain, so just because you don’t feel anything, don’t be lulled into thinking everything is okay.
Joe Rao is an esteemed astronomer who writes for Space.com, Sky & Telescope, and Natural History Magazine. Mr. Rao is a regular contributor to the Farmers' Almanac and serves as an associate lecturer for the Hayden Planetarium in New York City.