An annular solar eclipse is set to cross North, Central and South America on Saturday, Oct. 14. It will be visible in parts of the United States, Mexico, and many countries in Central and South America. In the U.S., the annular solar eclipse will begin in Oregon at 9:13 a.m. PDT and end in Texas at 12:03 p.m. CDT.
A solar eclipse occurs when the moon’s orbit aligns in such a way that the moon passes between the Earth and the sun, casting a shadow that blocks sunlight. The moon fully obscures the sun in a total eclipse; however, this upcoming event is an annular eclipse, where a ring of the sun remains visible (see the NASA map below).
The eclipse will be only partial in Eden Prairie, with about 46% coverage. The ability to view the eclipse will depend on weather conditions. The eclipse will start to be viewable in Eden Prairie at 10:29 a.m. on Oct. 14, reach its peak magnitude at 11:48 a.m., and end at 1:11 p.m.
Warning: Ensure safe viewing
The eclipse should only be viewed through safe solar eclipse glasses or a safe handheld viewer. It should never be viewed with the naked eye or with regular sunglasses. Only use solar viewers that meet the ISO 12312-2 standard. Using anything other than a safe viewer meeting this standard can cause irreparable damage to your vision. These safe viewers are thousands of times darker than regular sunglasses.
Before people understood this astronomical phenomenon, their attempts to explain it led to many interesting myths. Here are some of those myths, courtesy of timeanddate.com.
In Vietnam, it was believed a giant frog devoured the Sun during a solar eclipse, while Norse cultures blamed wolves. Ancient China attributed the phenomenon to a celestial dragon lunching on the sun. In fact, the Chinese word for an eclipse, chih or shih, means “to eat.” According to ancient Hindu mythology, the deity Rahu was beheaded by the gods for capturing and drinking Amrita, the gods’ nectar. Rahu’s head flies off into the sky, swallows the sun, and causes an eclipse. Korean folklore offers another explanation, suggesting mythical dogs are trying to steal the sun during an eclipse.
In Native American culture, the Pomo, an indigenous group of people who live in the northwestern United States, tell a story of a bear who started a fight with the sun and took a bite out of it. In fact, the Pomo name for a solar eclipse is “Sun got bit by a bear.” The Tewa tribe in New Mexico believed a solar eclipse signaled an angry sun, which left the skies to go to its house in the underworld.
The ancient Greeks believed that a solar eclipse was a sign of the gods’ anger and that it portended disasters and destruction.
Twin Cities eclipse events
According to information reported in the Minneapolis Star Tribune on Oct. 9, there will be several Twin Cities eclipse events on Saturday.
The University of Minnesota Bell Museum offers events and activities inside its building and several free activities outside on the St. Paul Campus at 2088 W. Larpenteur Ave., Falcon Heights.
At Commons Park, 6249 NE 7th St., Fridley, a local NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory Solar System Ambassador will host a viewing event for the Muslim community, complete with an eclipse prayer (salatul Kusoof). Solar glasses will be available. Those interested should RSVP to the “2023 Solar Eclipse Viewing Event” on Eventbrite.
At 10:30 a.m. at Highland Park, 1627 N. 5th St., New Ulm, the New Ulm Public Library hosts retired WCCO radio meteorologist Mike Lynch for an Eclipse Watch Party. A limited number of eclipse glasses will be available. If skies are overcast, the presentation will move to the library. More details can be found at newulmmn.gov.
Between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the Science Museum of Minnesota, 120 Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul, visitors will find eclipse-related interactive activities and demonstrations and several viewing options at the museum’s various outdoor spaces. The museum will have telescopes on hand and eclipse glasses for sale.
Between 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m., staff at Wild River State Park will distribute solar glasses. 39797 Park Trail, Center City, Minnesota.
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