Lining Up

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Lining Up

The Moon lines up with a bright star and planet early tomorrow. Regulus, the heart of Leo, is close to the lower right of the Moon. And the planet Venus — the “morning star” — is to the lower right of Regulus. They climb into good view by about 4:30, and are high in the sky at dawn.

It’s an impressive alignment. But the Moon is heading toward an even more impressive alignment on Saturday: a solar eclipse. The Moon will pass across the face of the Sun, blocking most of the Sun’s light.

But it won’t be a total eclipse. The Moon will be thousands of miles farther from Earth than average. So it won’t appear quite big enough to completely cover the Sun. Instead, the Sun will encircle the Moon with a “ring of fire” — an annular eclipse.

The United States will be in the middle of the action. The lunar shadow will sweep ashore in Oregon at 9:13 local time. It then will slide to the southeast, passing across six other states and several major cities. It will head into the Gulf of Mexico around noon local time, near Corpus Christi, Texas.

The period when sunlight fully encircles the Moon will last up to 5 minutes, 17 seconds. And the path of annularity will be up to 116 miles wide. At most, the Moon will cover about 90 percent of the Sun’s disk.

The rest of the U.S. — except Hawaii — will see a partial eclipse, with the Moon blocking a smaller fraction of the Sun.

More about the eclipse later in the week.

Script by Damond Benningfield

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