While Lunar eclipses are somewhat common, solar eclipses are fairly rare. And when one does happen, only a small percentage of the Earth gets to see it. But on Thursday, October 23, 2014, Canada and the United States get to see a partial solar eclipse. It's the last solar eclipse that both countries to get witness until August 21st, 2017. Mark that date on your calender however, because that's a total eclipse!
What time does it start? What time is the maximum? What time does it finish? Well, that of course depends on your timezone, and where you are. An excellent source is TimeAndDate.ca. Just type in your location, and it tells you what time the eclipse is, and what type you'll be able to see from your current location. The site will also give a list of upcoming eclipses as well. It's an excellent source, and doesn't force you to convert time zones. It automatically selects the timezone for the location that you select.
Of course, when viewing a solar eclipse, or the Sun in general, use the proper protection! Do not look directly at the Sun without a certified solar filter. The retina is unable to feel pain, and damage could take hours to appear. So it's best to be safe. All it takes is a few seconds of viewing to ruin your eyes.
If you're unable to get the proper eye protection, there are a number of websites that allow you to view it live online. One example is Slooh.
Solar eclipses have played a role in our past, and helping us to understand our past as well. If an event mentions of a solar eclipse, we can more easily narrow down the day of that event. One solar eclipse even helped to form peace between the Medians and the Lydians.
So go outside, look up (safely) and enjoy the rare event!
Image via NASA.gov