Wash. to have a partial solar eclipse Saturday, but will we see it?

Oct 11, 2023, 1:38 PM | Updated: 2:41 pm

FILE - The period of total coverage during the solar eclipse is seen near Hopkinsville, Ky. Monday,...

FILE - The period of total coverage during the solar eclipse is seen near Hopkinsville, Ky. Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. The location, which is in the path of totality, is also at the point of greatest intensity. It’s only a year until a total solar eclipse sweeps across North America. On April 8, 2024, the moon will cast its shadow across a stretch of the U.S., Mexico and Canada, plunging millions of people into midday darkness. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File)

(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File)

Western Washington will have a partial solar eclipse Saturday morning, but exactly how visible will the eclipse be?

A solar eclipse is when the moon crosses into the path of the sun, blocking the sun for a short time. The moon starts to move in front of the sun shortly after 8 a.m., reaches its peak around 9:15 a.m., and ends near 10:30 a.m.

More from Ted Buehner: Historic 1962 wind storm was the strongest in US history; another could occur

According to NASA, the partial eclipse in Western Washington will have about 80% of the sun blocked, leaving a crescent shape of the sun. The full solar eclipse will be seen in a path starting from the Central Oregon coast southeast through Eugene, Oregon; Battle Mountain, Nevada; Albuquerque, New Mexico and San Antonio, Texas.

This solar eclipse will be an annular eclipse, one where the moon appears smaller than the sun, leaving a distinctive “ring of fire” around it. The last solar eclipse event across the U.S. was in August 2017.

To see this unique event, skies need to have a minimum of clouds. Unfortunately, the weather is not likely to cooperate as a Pacific frontal system is expected to spread clouds and some rain onshore. Yet, there is the possibility the clouds may part for a bit of time during the eclipse period.

When viewing a solar eclipse or even a partial eclipse, it is critical to do so safely. Looking directly at the sun will cause permanent and irreparable damage to your eyes.

Several space organizations highly recommend obtaining solar-eclipse glasses that meet American Astronomical Society safety standards. Be quite wary of cheap pairs of these glasses from online resources that in the past have sold counterfeit or unsafe glasses.

The next solar eclipse is set to occur next year on April 8, 2024, and will track across parts of the central and eastern U.S. So, if you miss Saturday’s solar eclipse event, there is another one coming next April.

Follow Ted Buehner, the KIRO FM news meteorologist, on X, formerly known as Twitter

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