Partial Solar Eclipse Visible In Arizona Today

Aug 21, 2017

Every state in America will witness at least a partial solar eclipse today. In Arizona the celestial show starts at about 9:15 this morning and ends at noon. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports.

Eclipse watchers at the Grand Canyon in 2012
Credit NPS/Erin Whittaker

Arizona isn’t located in the “path of totality” where the moon will completely block the sun.

But a partial eclipse will be visible. Kevin Schindler of Flagstaff’s Lowell Observatory says the moon will cover about 70 percent of the sun at 10:30 a.m., leaving a blinding crescent.

"We have solar eclipses just by chance," he explains, "because the sun is 400 times larger than the moon, but it’s also 400 times further away. The sun and moon appear to be the same size in the sky, which allows the moon to cover the sun."

Schindler says the last time a solar eclipse was visible coast-to-coast was nearly a century ago.

It’s never safe to look directly at the sun during a partial eclipse. But you can wear solar-filtered glasses or poke a hole in a piece of paper to create a ‘pinhole camera.’  When held up to the light it will project a tiny image of the crescent sun.

Astronomers are on hand at Lowell Observatory this morning with solar telescopes. Solar glasses are also available at many public libraries around the state. Click here for a map of participating libraries.

Find more information on viewing a solar eclipse safely, or printable pinhole projectors from NASA.