This area won’t have a catbird seat for Saturday’s partial eclipse, but any glimpse is better than none.
The partial solar eclipse that is expected to be visible in this region Saturday morning won’t be the spectacular view that those living in the path of totality from Oregon to Texas will see. But even a partial solar eclipse is worth paying attention to, a Washington State University observational astronomer said.
“Where you are on Earth really changes what you will expect to see in the sky,” said Christopher M. Carroll, who works in the physics and astronomy department on the Pullman campus.
“If you happen to be at the exact right place on Earth, we call this area on Earth’s map the path of totality because the total area of the sun will be blocked out by the moon.
Carroll explained that a solar eclipse happens because the moon’s distance from the Earth makes it appear to be the same size in the sky as the sun.
“Because of the position of the moon and because the moon is a solid object,” he said, “we can see it more clearly. The sun is a ball of plasma, really hot gas, and doesn’t have such a defined surface. So when you put these things in the sky, the moon we see actually can be about the same size as the sun.
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