From the ABC 7 Weather team

Archive for category Astronomy October 2014

Partial solar eclipse arrives Thursday

October 22, 2014 - 04:16 PM
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A partial eclipse happens when the moon passes in front of the sun, partially obscuring the disk of the sun with some of it left uncovered. This will occur late today just before sunset at 6:19PM.

Live coverage of the eclipse can be viewed online from NASA here starting at 5pm!

While the window of opportunity to catch the partial eclipse on the east coast is limited (26 minutes in the metro D.C. area) the farther west you head the longer that window take in the celestial splendor.

Courtesy: NASA

Viewing is expected to be best for people in the Central Time Zone because of the timing and the weather, which is mainly clear in those locations. Locally, it may be a different story, as the low pressure system riding along the east coast is expected to continue to spread clouds over the region. The hope is that while the region will start mostly cloudy we should break into some sunshine by this afternoon.

One thing is for certain, if you can see the sun, do not attempt to view the partial eclipse without special viewing tools as you can damage your eyes. From NASA, "Direct viewing should only be attempted with the aid of a safe solar filter."

Check out this great tutorial on how to make a solar eclipse viewer from the great folks at space .com!

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Total Lunar Eclipse Wednesday Early Morning

October 6, 2014 - 03:30 PM
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Photo: NASA/JPL Kieth Burns

   Set your alarm clock and wake up the kids a little early on Wednesday. Sky gazers will be treated to a beautiful celestial display just before sunrise. The full Hunter’s Moon will be out in all of its glory and the earth will cast a shadow over it. The total lunar eclipse will be visible for all parts of the United States, including right here in Washington, D.C.

Eclipse Viewing- NASA


 If you want to catch the show, you can watch it directly. No special viewing goggles needed. Totality begins at 6:25a EDT and the full eclipse will be at 6:55a. By 7:24a it’s all over, but the sun will be up by then, so it’s best to catch the first half of it here. Just look in the Western sky.

Photo- NASA


As the moon passes deep inside the shadow of the earth, a coppery glow appears. It's also known as the Blood Moon. According to NASA, sometimes you can see a turquoise color at the start of the eclipse. That’s ozone. The moon will appear larger in the sky than normal so it should make for some great photos.  Wednesday is two days past perigee, the point when the moon is closest to the earth giving it that larger appearance. Check out this neat animation of what it may look like from solarsystemscope.com

We’re keeping a close eye on cloud cover Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. Right now it looks like the showers and clouds will clear out just in time. Both the GFS and Euro clear us out ; but the NAM keeps some patchy clouds around. My confidence is high enough that I’d set my alarm early to catch a glimpse.

NAM Total Cloud Cover Wednesday Morning


This is the second of four total lunar eclipses in succession. Each separated by 6 lunar months. The series of total lunar eclipses is called a tetrad. The next one will be April 4th, 2015.

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