Thursday morning the Earth, sun and moon will align to create a solar eclipse.

It will be the first solar eclipse seen in New York since 2017, and about 80 percent of the sun will be covered by the moon. The solar eclipse will happen around sunrise, which in Western New York is around 5:30 a.m. The eclipse will be starting before that, so part of the sun will be blocked by the moon and will last until a little after 6:30 a.m.

“Even if it’s cloudy, it is still going to be dark enough if you wake up in the morning its still going to be darker than normal,” said Brian Lada, an AccuWeather meteorologist.

Lada said the most important thing when viewing a solar eclipse is to protect your eyes. In 2017, stores were selling specially made eclipse glasses for the total solar eclipse. This won’t be the case this time where they will be easy to find, but ones bought in 2017 may still be good if they were stored properly. First people should make sure the glasses have a label that reads “ISO 12312-2” as this is the approved safety standard for eclipse glasses. Second, if they aren’t scratched, punctured or torn, they can be reused indefinitely.

If they don’t have the special glasses, there are welder’s glasses which can be bought at some stores, but the way to indirectly view an eclipse is to poke a tiny hole in a piece of paper. When the sun is shining normally, when the sun shines through the hole on the ground it looks like a normal circle. However, during an eclipse it looks like a crescent due to the moon covering part of the sun. An alternative method might be to get a pasta strainer and holding that out in the sun.

On a global standpoint, solar eclipses happen every year. This is the first of two solar eclipses this year, although the second solar eclipse will only be visible in Antarctica.

“It’s actually going to be pretty busy here for the next couple of years. There is going to be another partial solar eclipse visible from New York in 2023 and then get ready for 2024 because you are directly in the path of a solar eclipse. April 8, 2024, mark it on your calendar now,” Lada said.

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