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There's going to be a total solar eclipse this week

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Brett Smith for – @ParkstBrett

There’s going to be a total solar eclipse this week, but chances are you probably won’t be able to see it without a high-speed internet connection.

*Collective sigh*

Where you’ll need to be to see it

The first total solar eclipse on Earth since Nov. 3, 2013 will begin at around 4:30 a.m. EDT on March 20. The central focus of the eclipse will start off the southern edge of Greenland, pass between Iceland and Great Britain and wind its way up toward the North Pole before disappearing.

The dark umbral shadow cone of the moon will pass directly over one major populated area: the Danish-owned Faroe Islands off the coast of Norway. Made up of 18 different islands, the Faroe Islands’ total population is only about 50,000 people. The cone will also pass over Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago with the northernmost permanent non-researcher population: just over 2,600 people.


For those not traversing the frigid waters north of Europe, live video of the eclipse will also available via the Slooh Observation on its official website:

But wait…there’ll be partial phases too!

While only a relatively few people will see the total eclipse, a large swath of the globe will be able to see partial phases, including Northern Africa, western Asia and sections of the Middle East. Those in Newfoundland and Saint John’s may see something around daybreak, but for the most part – North America will miss this event. Those in the US and Canada will have to wait until August 21, 2017 for their next total solar eclipse.

This year’s total eclipse is somewhat unusually in that the Moon’s shadow will resemble a large oval across the surface of the Earth. This is because the Moon will have just passed the point in its orbit closest to Earth, called its perigee, about 13 hours earlier. Also, because the shadow is near the North Pole – it comes at the Earth on a very slanted angle – creating an oval.

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If you do happen to be in the viewing area, watching the eclipse should only be done with extreme caution and using special protective equipment. Trying to take pictures of the eclipse will also require a special solar filter. Not using a filter could result in permanent damage to your camera’s lens.


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