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By Matt Bayman

   Roughly six months before western Ohio experiences a total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024, a partial eclipse will occur in the area on Oct. 14 of this year. To be exact, if the conditions are right for the viewer, at noon on Oct. 14 (a Saturday), and lasting until about 2 p.m., about 40 percent of the Sun will be overtaken by an annular eclipse.

   According to NASA, an annular solar eclipse happens when the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth, but when it’s at its farthest point from the Earth. Because the Moon is farther away from Earth, it appears smaller than the Sun and does not completely cover the Sun. As a result, the Moon appears as a dark disk on top of a larger, bright disk, creating what looks like a ring around the Moon, also known as a “ring of fire.” In western Ohio, we will simply see the Sun partially covered, like two circles joining together. The peak here will be at 1:05 p.m. The further west you go, the more it will be covered.  

   The Oct. 14 eclipse will cross North, Central and South America. Some of the places where the ring will be visible include, Eugene, Albuquerque, and San Antonio plus huge swaths of no-man’s-land in Nevada and Oregon. It will also cross directly over the Panama Canal and the Amazon jungle, before moving into the Atlantic Ocean and disappearing off the coast of Brazil. 

   The annular eclipse is the second of three notable solar eclipses viewable from the United States. The first was the “Great American” total solar eclipse in August of 2017. Next will be the “Great North American Eclipse” on April 8, when parts of Darke and Shelby counties (among others) will experience total darkness.  LEARN MORE

   Until then, there are a number of other celestial events to look forward to in western Ohio. They are listed below: 

NASA Annular Eclipse.jpg
partial eclipse.jpg

Left image (NASA/Bill Dunford ) shows a full annular eclipse, the image at right is what we will see in western Ohio.

Draconid Meteor Shower | Oct. 8-9
Look in the direction of the constellation Draco from 7 p.m. Sunday through 8 a.m. Monday to see up to 10 meteors per hour.

Annular Eclipse | Oct. 14 
About 40 percent of the Sun will be covered starting at noon and peaking at 2 p.m.

Orionid Meteor Shower | Oct. 21-22
Look to the left of Orion’s raised arm between 11 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. Sunday to view up to 20 meteors per hour. Interestingly, the Orionid Meteor Shower was created by Comet Halley, which will return in 2061.

Leonids Meteor Shower | Nov. 18 
Look right at Leo the Lion’s neck in the sky and watch for up to 10 meteors per hour from midnight to 7 a.m.

Geminids Meteor Shower | Dec. 14-15 
Look at Castor’s head (the Gemini twin that’s standing to our right in the night sky) between 7 p.m. Thursday and 8 a.m. Friday to see up to 150 meteors per hour. 

Quadrantids Meteor Shower | Jan. 3-4, 2024
Between 5 p.m. Wednesday and 8 a.m. Thursday, about 110 meteors per hour will be visible to the right of the constellation of Draco, in an “empty” part of the sky.

Penumbral Lunar Eclipse | March 24-25, 2024 
A penumbral lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes through the penumbral cone (shadow) of the Earth. It is not very spectacular and, in reality, simply makes the Moon look fainter. The maximum of the eclipse will take place at 3:12 a.m. in western Ohio on March 25. 

Great North American Eclipse | April 8, 2024
The eclipse will begin at 11:41 a.m. and peak (total darkness) around 2:17 p.m. Tons of events are planned in western Ohio. 

Lyrids Meteor Shower April 21-22, 2024 
The oldest recorded meteor shower (2,500 years ago in China), the Lyrids Meteor Shower will occur between 10 p.m. Sunday and 7 a.m. Monday in the direction of the constellation of Hercules. According to NASA, the shower is made up from the debris of a comet named Thatcher, which takes roughly 415 years to orbit around the Sun. It will be visible from Earth again in 2276.

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