Eclipse 2017: How to See It in Arizona

This total eclipse occurred in a narrow area of the Southern Hemisphere in 2012. | Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Maybe you've heard, but later this month, the U.S. will see its first total solar eclipse since 1979. And even though Arizona isn't in the path of totality, you can still see a partial solar eclipse from this state — if you've got the right equipment.

The August 21 eclipse will be visible throughout the country, but a total eclipse can be seen only in the narrow path of totality, which stretches from Oregon southeast to South Carolina. Those in Arizona will see a partial eclipse, when only part of the sun is obscured by the moon.

The Four Corners area, in the northeast corner of the state, will have Arizona's best view. There, about 78 percent of the sun will be obscured. But Phoenix will see about 63 percent of the sun blocked out; it'll be 70 percent in Flagstaff and 59 percent in Tucson.

In all three cities, the partial eclipse will begin around 9:15 a.m. and end around noon Arizona time. The time of maximum eclipse will be just after 10:30 a.m. Arizona time. (To get data for other areas of Arizona, visit NASA's eclipse website.)

Unlike a total solar eclipse, you can't view a partial solar eclipse with unprotected eyes — you'll damage your eyes or even go blind. But you can buy an inexpensive pair of eclipse glasses on Amazon or at one of many retailers. You also can view it with a telescope if you have a solar filter. (If you don't know if you have a solar filter, you don't have a solar filter.)

If you don't have the glasses or a filtered telescope, here's a low-tech solution: Get two index cards or white pieces of paper, and poke a hole in one of them with a safety pin. Then, hold the card with the hole up to the sun, allowing sunlight to stream through the hole and onto the other card. During the eclipse, you'll see that the projected image of the sun has a "bite" out of it.

If a partial eclipse isn't good enough for you, many organizations, including Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, are holding eclipse-related events that include live streams of the total eclipse. Lowell's event also includes telescopes set up to view the partial eclipse here. And you can watch live streams from various places in the path of totality by visiting this NASA website.

The U.S. won't see another total solar eclipse until April of 2024. And Arizona will have to wait until 2205 to be in the path of a total solar eclipse. The last one to pass over what's now Arizona occurred in 1806.

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