WEST CARROLLTON, OHIO (WDTN)- The Miami Valley will see a solar eclipse on Saturday, the preview to the total solar eclipse in April 2024, but they will not appear the same. The solar eclipse in April is a total eclipse, covering the entirety of the sun, but this weekend there will be an annular solar eclipse known as the ring of fire.
Carl Nelson, Imagination Station Chief Scientist said, “As the moon orbits the earth, there are times when the moon is a little bit further away. Sometimes it’s a little bit closer. In this instance, it’s going to be a little bit further away, so that won’t be able to completely cover the disk of the sun.”
The discrepancy in the distance away from earth is because perfectly circular orbits are not possible, only ellipses.
Nelson said, “Turns out the moon’s orbit is pretty darn circular. Out of its quarter million mile radius. The difference between the long axis and the short axis of that ellipse is about 600 miles or so. But it’s just enough to make it a little bit too small.”
In Dayton we will see a partial eclipse, with only around 40% of the sun being covered by the moon, but you will still need specialized glasses. You may have one from the last total solar eclipse, but check the expiration date before using.
Anna Hehman, Executive Director of the Cincinnati Observatory said, “So there was a total solar eclipse seven years ago. And so anybody who has eclipse glasses from then, they’re not good anymore. It’s usually five or seven years, depending on where you get the glasses.”
The only problem Saturday will be the weather, with overcast skies expected and chances of showers.