Solar Thursday USA: An Eclipse AND a Massive Sunspot Group

October 20th, 2014 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

Residents of the eastern U.S. will be in a particularly good location to see a partial solar eclipse which will peak near sunset on Thursday, Oct. 23, and as a bonus the giant sunspot group 2192 should also be visible.

Here’s what sunspot 2192 looks like in recent days as it slowly rotates toward the central portion of the solar disk:

Sunspot 2192 has been pumping out solar flares on a daily basis, and has a good chance of producing an Earth-directed coronal mass ejection (CME) over the next week, which would lead to auroral displays.

As of right now, the best viewing of the eclipse looks like it will be in a general swath from the Upper Plains and Great Lakes (~60% solar disk coverage) through the Midwest and Ohio Valley toward the southeast U.S. The northeast U.S. viewing will depend on how much cloud cover remains from a slowly retreating low pressure system…some breaks in the clouds will allow at least scattered viewing there. Over the western U.S. the eclipse will occur during the afternoon and end before sunset.

Here in north Alabama I’ll be doing a time lapse video of the setting sun, weather permitting, when the partial eclipse will peak at about 40% at sunset.

Here’s an eclipse calculator simulation for your location.

DO NOT view the sun with the naked eye! Advice on methods for safely viewing the sun are provided by Astro Bob at

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