Indianapolis residents will have the opportunity to witness a partial solar eclipse in mid-October, as nearly half of the moon will cover the sun. The cosmic event is set to last for almost three hours, beginning at 11:39 a.m. and ending at 2:28 p.m., with the maximum coverage expected around 1 p.m.
This particular eclipse is categorized as an “annular” solar eclipse, which means that the moon is at its farthest point from Earth, and its shadow will not reach the Earth’s surface. It is also noteworthy as the last annular solar eclipse visible from the contiguous United States until June 2039.
Local astronomers are considering this partial eclipse as a precursor to a much larger event scheduled for April 2024. During that time, a total solar eclipse is forecasted to occur in Indianapolis for the first time in over 800 years.
In preparation for both eclipses, the Butler University Physics & Astronomy department is organizing eclipse programming at the observatory and offering eclipse glasses for sale to the public. This initiative aims to educate and create awareness among individuals about the significance and safety measures surrounding solar eclipses.
During a partial solar eclipse, the moon passes between the Earth and the sun, but their alignment is not perfect, resulting in the sun being partially covered and appearing as a bright crescent. However, it is crucial to note that looking directly at the sun during an eclipse without proper eye protection is dangerous. NASA recommends the use of safe solar viewers or pinhole projectors to observe the eclipse safely.
To provide further education about the annular solar eclipse, Holcomb Observatory and Planetarium will be conducting educational programming from September to early October. They aim to engage the public and increase knowledge about the celestial events occurring in the Indianapolis region.
By taking necessary precautions and leveraging educational opportunities, residents of Indianapolis can enjoy the upcoming partial solar eclipse and look forward to the even more monumental total solar eclipse in 2024.