People will be going to the beach early Thursday morning – very early Thursday morning – and not just to beat the heat.
When the sun rises at 5:06 a.m. that day, it will be partly blocked by the moon, creating an annular eclipse. For the next hour, if the weather doesn’t get in the way, the sun will have “devil horns” or look like a ring, making the outermost portion of the solar atmosphere, known as the corona, visible.
“Corona means something positive for once!” said Rik Yeames, commenting on the problems we’ve had with the coronavirus.
The eclipse can be seen anywhere with a good view to the east. Don’t look at the sun without eclipse glasses because it can damage your sight. If you can’t get to a good spot, you can watch a livestream of the eclipse coming out of the Atlantic Ocean at youtube.com/watch?v=mZV8Q2jNVBM&ab_channel=SPSUTD
Yeames could be considered the state’s eclipse cheerleader. Case in point: Eclipse glasses are available for $1 at the two Domino’s Pizza stores that he owns in Concord, on Fisherville Road and North Main Street. He’s also the driving force behind preparations to celebrate the April 8, 2024, total eclipse that passes through Coos County.
On Thursday he’ll be at the Ashworth by the Sea hotel in Hampton, selling eclipse glasses and giving tips. Many other eclipse fans from the New Hampshire Astronomical Society and elsewhere are expected.
“We’ll have more than 20 people. Might be 100. I’d like a couple thousand!” Yeames said, adding that the town’s police department has been notified of possible crowds arriving long before tourists’ usual starting hour.
A solar eclipse occurs when the moon gets between us and the sun, casting a shadow that travels over the surface of the Earth for a few hours. Thursday’s eclipse shadow goes north from here, over the pole, and end in Russia.
It will be an annular eclipse, meaning that the moon is slightly further away than average from us and so looks a little smaller; it can’t quite cover the entire sun.
The sun is about 400 times bigger than the moon but it’s also about 400 times farther away from us, a coincidence that makes the two disks appear the same size in the sky. No other planet in the solar system has that same coincidence with its moons; a true solar eclipse is possible only on Earth.
The next time New Hampshire can see an annular eclipse will be Oct. 14, 2023, although we’re on the edge of the area where the show is visible so we’ll only see about 25% of it.