This illustration depicts a rare alignment of the Sun and Moon casting a shadow on Earth.

The new moon will sweep in front of the sun to create this year’s first solar eclipse on Thursday morning, and it will be visible for early risers in Northern Virginia if the weather cooperates.

At its peak at 5:47 a.m., it will appear the left two-thirds of the sun is obscured by the moon.

According to, the moon in its elliptical orbit around Earth will lie too far from us to cover over the sun completely. So a bright annulus – or ring – will surround the new moon silhouette at mid-eclipse.

The visible outer rim of the sun, not quite hidden from view, is what is known by some as a “ring of fire” eclipse. But just a fraction of the planet, from southern Ontario to northwest Greenland, across the North Pole and then far eastern Siberia, will get to see it that way.

From much of North America, you'll see at least part of the sun in eclipse starting at sunrise on June 10 and lasting about 45 to 100 minutes, with northern and eastern locations in the U.S. having the best view.

Sunrise in Fairfax is at 5:43 a.m., with the eclipse peaking at 5:47 a.m and then coming to an end at 6:29 a.m.

Any unobscured location with a view towards the northeast will have a perfect view as long as any clouds stay away from the horizon.

Vision experts warn eclipse viewers to never look directly at the sun without official eclipse protective eye wear. If protective glasses designed for viewing an eclipse aren’t available, experts recommend using a homemade pinhole projector to view solar events.

Even a few seconds of looking directly at the sun may cause permanent eye damage. Watching the eclipse through glasses that aren’t certified to protect your eyes can also lead to serious damage.

Or you can watch the eclipse live online, at Virtual Telescope TV. The live feed is scheduled to start at 5:30 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time.


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