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.
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!