Michiganders have the chance to see a unique solar eclipse this weekend
Michigan sky watchers have the chance to see something unique this Saturday, October 14: a partial solar eclipse. This weekend's event is actually an annular— or "Ring of Fire" — eclipse, but Michigan is not in the eclipse's peak viewing area, which means that Michiganders will see the sun as a crescent shape for a few hours instead of a fiery ring.
The best viewing times in Michigan will be between 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
Solar eclipses occur when the sun, moon, and Earth line up. NASA explains that the full annular eclipse will be visible in the United States beginning in Oregon and ending in Texas. In the peak viewing area, the moon will move almost fully in front of the sun, leaving a "ring of fire" visible behind it.
Ted Bergin is a professor of astronomy at the University of Michigan. He said solar eclipses are exciting events.
"The sun is a normal in our lives, right? It rises and it sets and it does its thing, and this is something different. It's nature conspiring to show its wonders to us," said Bergin.
On April 8, 2024, North American sky watchers can witness a total eclipse, during which the moon completely obscures the sun. This creates a few minutes of "night time," when stars become visible and temperatures momentarily drop. The last total solar eclipse in North America occurred in 2017.
Bergin said as long as you can acquire and wear appropriate solar eclipse glasses (sunglasses don't work and you should never look directly at the sun without the specialized solar eclipse glasses), eclipses are well worth watching.
"Every once in a while, these things happen that make you realize that there's something more than just sitting on this planet, and going out and getting your coffee and having breakfast," he said. "There's a wide universe out there, and it's saying hello to you."