When, Where to Watch Sunday's Solar Eclipse

May 20, 2012; 3:11 PM
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Where the weather cooperates, the United States--with the East Coast being the exception--will be treated to a spectacular solar eclipse late today.

For the best views of Sunday's "Ring of Fire" eclipse, head to places from northern California and neighboring southwestern Oregon to the Texas Panhandle.

Here, the sun will be reduced to what resembles a ring as the moon passes directly between the sun and Earth.

This "Ring of Fire," as described by Mike Wall of SPACE.com, will create a dazzling display for roughly 3 to 4 minutes over cities such as Medford, Ore., Redding, Calif., Reno, Nev., Cedar City, Utah, Albuquerque, N.M., and Lubbock, Texas.

SEE ALSO:
Weather for Today's Spectacular Solar Eclipse
How to Safely Observe the Sun During an Eclipse
Solar Eclipses: An Observer's Guide

Being able to see the eclipse is, of course, weather dependent. The good news is that Mother Nature will not ruin the show for many communities in the path of the complete eclipse.

The "Ring of Fire" will be visible since an annular eclipse is taking place late today as opposed to a total solar eclipse, according to Wall.

"In [the case of today's annular eclipse], the moon is close to apogee--the farthest point from Earth in its elliptical orbit around our planet--so it's a smidge too small in the sky to cover the solar disk completely."

Do not let the term 'annular' fool you into thinking that the show will be any less amazing than during a total eclipse. In fact, AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson states that the display will be extra spectacular with the eclipse occurring right before sunset.

Please use caution when admiring the eclipse since serious eye damage can result if not done so safely.

The sun will transition to the spectacular "Ring of Fire" at the following times, which were calculated by NASA.

City
Starts
Peaks
Ends
Albuquerque, N.M.
6:28 p.m. MDT
7:36 p.m. MDT
Sunset
Eureka, Calif.
5:10 p.m. PDT
6:28 p.m. PDT
7:37 p.m. PDT
Lubbock, Texas
7:31 p.m. CDT
8:36 p.m. CDT
Sunset
Medford, Ore.
5:08 p.m. PDT
6:26 p.m. PDT
7:34 p.m. PDT
Reno, Nev.
5:15 p.m. PDT
6:31 p.m. PDT
7:37 p.m. PDT

The rest of the United States will be able to witness at least a partial solar eclipse right before sunset; the timing of which is given below for select cities. The East Coast will be the exception as the sun will set prior to the brilliant display.

City
Starts
Peaks
Ends
Buffalo, N.Y.
8:20 p.m. EDT
Sunset
---
Birmingham, Ala.
7:30 p.m. CDT
Sunset
---
Chicago, Ill.
7:22 p.m. CDT
Sunset
---
Minneapolis, Minn.
7:19 p.m. CDT
8:20 p.m. CDT
Sunset
St. Louis, Mo.
7:25 p.m. CDT
Sunset
---
Oklahoma City, Okla.
7:29 p.m. CDT
Sunset
---
Houston, Texas
7:35 p.m. CDT
Sunset
---
Denver, Colo.
6:23 p.m. MDT
7:30 p.m. MDT
Sunset
Salt Lake City, Utah
6:19 p.m. MDT
7:29 p.m. MDT
8:33 p.m. MDT
Boise, Idaho
6:12 p.m. MDT
7:25 p.m. MDT
8:31 p.m. MDT
Phoenix, Ariz.
5:29 p.m. MST
6:39 p.m. MST
Sunset
Seattle, Wash.
5:02 p.m. PDT
6:18 p.m. PDT
7:26 p.m. PDT
San Francisco, Calif.
5:16 p.m. PDT
6:33 p.m. PDT
7:40 p.m. PDT
Los Angeles, Calif.
5:25 p.m. PDT
6:38 p.m. PDT
7:43 p.m. PDT
Reno, Nev.
5:15 p.m. PDT
6:31 p.m. PDT
7:37 p.m. PDT
Honolulu, Hawaii
2:03 p.m. HST
3:12 p.m. HST
4:11 p.m. HST

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