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What can upstate New York expect from solar eclipse?

Syracuse Astronomical Society
The Syracuse Astronomical Society observatory.

For today’s solar eclipse, people across central and northern New York can expect the moon’s shadow to partially block out the sun this afternoon, with the peak happening just past 2:30 p.m. 

Raymond Dague of the Syracuse Astronomical Society describes a total solar eclipse as spectacular.

Credit Syracuse Astronomical Society
Syracuse Astronomical Society
Raymond Dague.

“Suddenly the entire sky goes completely dark, the birds think it’s nighttime,” Dague said.

But the path of totality is passing though states like South Carolina, so don’t expect that to happen in upstate New York where only about three quarters of the sun will be blocked out.

“That’s not enough for the really spectacular view," Dague said. "At the maximum you would see this big bite taken out of the sun by the moon. That’s kind of cool.”

Dague said you should never look up at the sun, even for a second during the eclipse, with your naked eyes.

"Your eyes do not have pain receptors in the retina," Dague said. "Because there are no pain receptors, you can do tremendous damage to your eyes, without even knowing that it is even happening."

Credit nasa.gov
The path of totality for Monday's eclipse will cover a small strip across the nation. central and northern NY will see about 70% of the sun covered during the peak.

Instead, Dague recommends getting the solar eclipse glasses if you can. They have been selling out at hardware and retail stores. Some of the glasses will be made available at local libraries. Number 14 welders glass also works. And if all else fails, you can make a pinhole camera, poking a hole through a piece of cardboard, letting the sun shine onto another piece of cardboard.

“You can see in that projected image, a pinhole type camera, the bright crescent of the sun as the moon takes a little chunk out of it,” Dague said.

The peak of the eclipse will last for a couple minutes around 2:30 this afternoon.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.