YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – On your way to work Thursday, you may notice that the sunrise looks a little odd. A partial annular solar eclipse will be visible at 5:55 a.m., but as cool as it is to look at, doctors say you shouldn’t unless you have the right gear.
“Every time there is a lunar eclipse, there is a solar eclipse either two weeks before or two weeks after. They always happen in pairs,” said Dr. Curt Spivey, planetarium engineer at Youngstown State University.
On the morning of June 10, the moon will move in front of the sun, blocking out 66% of it.
“This is kind of rough for us here because it actually is occurring as the sun rises. To see this, you want a very good view of the eastern horizon so you can see the sun just as it is coming up,” Spivey said.
These eclipses happen a couple of times a year, but only a sliver of earth falls under the actual eclipse, so viewing a total solar eclipse is much rarer. Even with 66% of the sun blocked, you should not look directly at it, even for a short period of time.
“Our easiest answer is indirect viewing is the safest way to view it. Not looking at it directly,” said Dr. Nick Lawrence, a doctor of optometry with Eye Care Associates.
A lot of people will be on their drive to work Thursday at the time of the eclipse, making it easy to peek up at the sky. But unless you have special polarized glasses, looking at the sun, even briefly, could cause damage to your eyes.
“The problem is people think dark sunglasses at the store is just enough, but this is not good enough,” Lawrence said.
Another option, that doubles as a fun craft, is to make a pinhole view with two plates, poking a hole through one and using the other as a projector.
The only time it’s safe to look at the sun is during a total solar eclipse, which will happen here in the Valley on April 8, 2024.
“This is kind of a warmup for the big one in 2024. When that one happens here, we are going to have 99% of the sun covered,” Spivey said.
Unless you have polarized glasses lying around from the last partial eclipse in 2017, you won’t likely be able to find any in the next seven hours. If you do have some, remember to look at the eastern horizon from about 5:50 a.m. until about 6:40 a.m. to see the shadow over the sun as it rises.