Annular Solar Eclipse Sunday Evening -- Clouds and Sunset to Impede Local Viewing

Path of annual solar eclipse on May 20.  (Times listed are in GMT; add 5 hours for CDT)An annular solar eclipse will occur Sunday evening over portions of the United States.  In an annular eclipse, the Moon passes in front of the Sun, but is not large enough to cover the entire disk of the Sun, resulting in a "ring of light" remaining visible in areas directly in the path.   With this eclipse, the direct path in the United States will extend from northern California to northern Texas.  In the image at right, the red shades indicate the locations in the direct path, with the darker shading representing the locations that will experience at least a partial eclipse.  (The time in the top right corner is in GMT; subtract 5 hours for CDT.)

Due to the time of day, the Midwest will see less than half of the eclipse before the sun sets.  In our area, the eclipse will begin around 7:24 pm.  Sunset for several cities across central and southeast Illinois:

  • Lawrenceville:  8:00 pm
  • Mattoon:  8:04 pm
  • Champaign:  8:06 pm
  • Decatur:  8:08 pm
  • Bloomington:  8:11 pm
  • Springfield:  8:11 pm
  • Peoria:  8:13 pm
  • Jacksonville:  8:14 pm
  • Galesburg:  8:18 pm

The sun will appear just over half covered (about 54% at Springfield, according to projections from NASA) at time of sunset.  The lower portion of the Sun's disk will be obscured during the eclipse.

In central and southeast Illinois, locations south of I-70 will have the best odds of being able to see this eclipse, as skies in this area will be partly cloudy at sunset.  Areas west of I-55 will have a poor chance of seeing the eclipse, with skies likely to be 80% or more covered by clouds.  Updated forecasts are available at this link

Directly viewing an eclipse can cause eye injury, but there are ways to view an eclipse safely.  This includes using "pinhole" projections and #14 welder's glass.  Visit NASA's "Eye Safety During Solar Eclipses" web page for tips. 

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