BATON ROUGE — On Saturday, Louisiana residents can experience an annular solar eclipse. The eclipse will cross North, Central, and South America, according to NASA.
An annular solar eclipse happens when the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth while it is at its farthest point from Earth. Because the Moon is farther away from Earth, it appears smaller than the Sun and does not completely cover it. It leaves a thin outer ring called a “ring of fire.”
Because the Sun is never completely covered, observers must wear proper eye protection at all times while watching an annular eclipse.
What you can see during an eclipse depends on the weather and the location from which you view it. Even with cloud cover, the eclipse is still noticeable.
What to expect in Louisiana during the eclipse
If you aren’t able to travel to the 150-mile-wide path of annularity, you can still see a partial view of the eclipse.
Louisiana is not in the path of the ‘ring of fire’ but you will be able to see part of the eclipse. About 80% of the sun will be blocked in the Baton Rouge metro.
The moon will begin blocking the sun starting around 10:32 a.m. with maximum coverage occurring between noon and 12:05 p.m. The sun will be fully visible again at around 1:43 p.m.
According to NASA, viewing any part of the bright Sun through a camera lens, binoculars, or a telescope without a special-purpose solar filter secured over the front of the optics will instantly cause severe eye injury.
When watching an annular solar eclipse directly with your eyes, you must look through safe solar viewing glasses (“eclipse glasses”) or a safe handheld solar viewer at all times. These glasses are NOT regular sunglasses; regular sunglasses, no matter how dark, are not safe for viewing the Sun.
Always inspect your eclipse glasses or handheld viewer before use; if torn, scratched, or otherwise damaged, discard the device. Always supervise children using solar viewers.
You can make your own solar eclipse glasses at home, but you should follow all directions.
Baton Rouge events
There are a few viewing events in Baton Rouge Saturday.
The Highland Road Park Observatory will be hosting a viewing starting at 9 a.m. Saturday. The Observatory will also be selling solar viewers for $2 until supplies run out.
The Observatory is located at 13800 Highland Rd, Baton Rouge, LA 70810.
2024 Total Solar Eclipse
The annular eclipse comes a few months before the U.S. will experience a total solar event. Louisiana will experience 80-90% of totality. That takes place on April 8, 2024.
Neighboring Texas and Arkansas will experience the path of totality. Hotel rooms from Texas to Ohio along the path of totality are already sold out.