Oak Hill, WV (WOAY-TV): Saturday’s solar eclipse will stun the Western U.S., but only if you have a special viewing filter will you notice anything in our region.
The moon will pass between the Sun and Earth on Saturday. This annular solar eclipse will appear like a ring of fire with the sun’s light evident on its outer edges, but don’t expect much of a thrill here in southern West Virginia.
WHAT TO EXPECT LOCALLY: Only 40% of the sun will be blocked by the moon in southern West Virginia. While this may seem like a lot, DON’T look directly into the sun; you could easily become blind. You need a solar viewing filter to notice anything. You can buy one of Amazon or make your own in 5 minutes.
HOW TO SAFELY VIEW THE ECLIPSE: You need a shoe box, any type of tape… doesn’t need to be duct tape, paper, scissors, foil, a pencil and scissors. Cut two holes on one side of the box, then add tape to each side of the foil, then stick the foil over one of the holes.
Poke a small hole into the foil. Then tape the piece of paper, which should be about as wide and tall as the side of the shoebox to the inside of the shoebox and opposite the piece of foil.
WILL THE WEATHER COOPERATE AND WHEN TO POSITION YOURSELF TO SAFELY WATCH THE ECLIPSE?: We will probably get lucky with the clouds and rain on Saturday, as they hold off until later in the day. Around 12:45 p.m. on Saturday place the box outside and with your back to the sun, look through the open hole and just before 1 p.m., watch the sunlight get “eaten away” by the moon’s shadow.
WHO WILL BE WOWED THE MOST FROM THE ECLIPSE?: The lucky ones that will see the sun in a ring around the moon will be the Pacific Northwest to Texas as the eclipse makes its way from Oregon to Texas between 9:13 a.m. PDT and 12:03 p.m. CT. There will be 4 minutes and 30 seconds of almost complete darkness at any one point along this path, but 2 to 3 hours where part of the sun is blocked out. Outside the darkest zone, folks can expect to see 3 minutes of near darkness Saturday morning.
A FEW COOL FACTS ABOUT THE ECLIPSE: The real estate under almost total darkness at one spot is 136 miles and the moon will be moving at a whopping 5,340 mph. That’s 33 times faster than the maximum speed of most cars these days!
OUR TURN IS NEXT: Don’t worry if you can’t make it to Texas or the West to see the annual solar eclipse. The well-advertised April 8, 2024 total solar eclipse will almost be in our back yard. More on this early next year!
WHAT’S THE WEATHER FORECAST FOR THE ECLIPSE AND BEYOND?