On Thursday morning, you can catch a glimpse of a partial solar eclipse!

That’s no moon! Okay, technically it’s the moon’s shadow, and as you wake up early Thursday morning it will be in front of the sun creating an annular solar eclipse. Don’t get too excited Central North Carolina, we will only see the partial phases of this solar eclipse, and it will be in a small window of time.

What is an Annular Solar Eclipse?

A solar eclipse is when the moon passes between the Sun and the Earth, casting a shadow toward Earth, and seemingly blocking out the sun. Annulus in Latin means ring, and an annular solar eclipse is named for the “ring of fire” or ring of sunlight that surrounds the shadow of the moon.

The moon will be in “apogee” or it’s the farthest point from Earth, making it appear smaller.

The smaller look to the moon will create a smaller shadow, leaving only a small ring of light peeking out from behind the moon.

Will we see it in Central North Carolina?

Central North Carolina will not see the total phase of the annular solar eclipse; however, we have a small window to see a partial phase.

Totality will occur at 5:26 a.m. when the sun is still below the horizon.

We will just start to see the sun as it rises around 6 a.m. Thursday morning, but by that time the Sun will only be 30 percent eclipsed.

If you do have the chance to see it, you can expect to see a crescent sun as the moon moves between the sun and Earth.

By the time we have a decent view of the Sun climbing higher in the sky just before 6:30, the eclipse will be done.

While it is a narrow window for us to see the partial annular eclipse, make sure you have solar eclipse glasses on hand, as you will not be able to see the partial phases without them.

The next total solar eclipse in the United States will occur on April 8, 2024.