Where to see a spectacular solar eclipse this week – either IRL or online
There are plenty of places to view the eclipse without even going outside.
A total solar eclipse – where the moon's orbit passes in front of the sun, creating the effect of a blacked-out orb surrounded by a halo of light – happens at least once per year. The next eclipse, the first since November 2013, will be rare for a couple of reasons.
The March 20 eclipse is unusual because it takes place during the vernal (spring) equinox and when we experience a "supermoon," when the moon is full and is at its closest distance to Earth. So the lucky few who will be able to see the full eclipse will witness a larger-than-normal-looking moon surrounded by that wonderful halo of fire.
Why so few? According to Space.com, the moon's path is over the Northern Atlantic and Arctic Oceans, so folks on the Faroe Islands and Svalbard will be able to get the best look. But people in Europe, Asia, the Mediterranean region and North Africa should be able to at least see a partial eclipse. An interactive map at NASA's website shows the path the eclipse will take.
If you're in one of those regions, remember that if you want to get a look, use a pinhole projector or specially designed glasses. Looking directly at an eclipse can do damage to your eyes. However, if you want to stay safe – or if you're in an area of the world like the U.S., where the eclipse won't be visible – you can view it online at the Slooh Community Observatory website, Space.com (which will carry Slooh's feed) starting at 4:30 AM EDT or the Virtual Telescope Project website.
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