The Coast News Group
The last total solar eclipse visible from the U.S. was on Aug. 21, 2017. Photo by Master Sgt. Matt Hecht
The last total solar eclipse visible from the U.S. was on Aug. 21, 2017. Photo by Master Sgt. Matt Hecht
CarlsbadCitiesCommunityCommunityDel MarEncinitasEscondidoNewsOceansideRancho Santa FeRegionSan DiegoSan MarcosSolana BeachVista

SDSU Astronomy Dept. hosts solar eclipse viewing in Encinitas

ENCINITAS — Catching a glimpse of the total solar eclipse that will occur on April 8 will be possible from California, even though the “path of totality” will be over 1,000 miles away, and several places in San Diego and Riverside counties will be hosting viewing events for the duration.

“A solar eclipse is a rare astronomical event worth pausing for,” said Michael Silveira, dean of math and science at the College of the Desert. “Watching an event like this makes you wonder about the natural world and inspires curiosity.”

Although the San Diego area won’t be in the path of totality, North County residents will still be able to see a partial eclipse at one of the following local viewing parties on April 8:

• Total Eclipse Viewing Event hosted by San Diego State University’s Astronomy Dept. at 540 Cornish Drive in Encinitas from 10:30 a.m.- 12 p.m.;

• Eclipse Viewing Party at the Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park from 9 a.m.- 12 p.m.;

• Dark Sky Celebration at the Julian County Library from 10:30 a.m.- 12 p.m.; and

• The College of the Desert’s campus will host a viewing session at the Science Building, 43-500 Monterey Avenue, Palm Desert, from 10 a.m. to noon.

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between Earth and the sun, totally or partly obscuring the image of the sun for a viewer on Earth. Photo by Troy Langenburg
A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between Earth and the sun, totally or partly obscuring the sun’s image for a viewer on Earth. Photo by Troy Langenburg

SDSU associate professor of astronomy Douglas Leonard advised what residents can expect in San Diego County on Monday at the viewing party at the Encinitas Public Library.

“Here in San Diego, the partial eclipse begins at about 10:03 a.m., when the moon’s disk just begins to cross the sun; the maximum eclipse occurs at 11:11 a.m. when roughly 54% of the sun’s disk is occulted; and by 12:23 p.m., it’s all over,” Leonard said in a news release. “Unless you’re aware it’s happening, you probably wouldn’t even notice it’s happening — it won’t become appreciably darker or cooler.

“If you want to prove to yourself that it’s happening, simply take a pin and poke a small hole in an index card and let the sun’s image shine through it onto a sheet of paper held behind it — you’ll see the crescent image of the sun,” Leonard added.

Leonard warned potential viewers not to look directly at the partially eclipsed sun without special glasses designed to block out more than 99% of the sun’s light.

More information regarding eye protection is available at

For those who wish to view the partial eclipse safely, Leonard also noted that the university’s astronomy department, in partnership with the Schwartz Astronomical Society, will have telescopes and solar sunglasses to look through during the eclipse in the Mediterranean Garden, which is located just west of the physics/astronomy building on the SDSU campus.

In Southern California, less than half the sun will be shaded at the eclipse’s peak, which will begin over the Pacific Ocean and last for roughly two hours. This will result in the complete obscuration of the sun by the moon through North America.

According to astronomers, only 13 states will be in the path of totality. Cities where maximum umbra will occur include Dallas, Texas, Indianapolis, Indiana, Cleveland, Ohio and Rochester, New York.

According to, the deepest, longest duration for the moon’s shadow will be 4.5 minutes over Northern Mexico, just before the shadow is cast on Texas.

The eclipse will be readily visible across the United States’ Lower Great Plains, upper Midwest and New England for about an hour, beginning at 1:30 p.m. Central Daylight Time and ending at 3:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.

“Because of the exquisite beauty of the sun’s corona hanging in the suddenly darkened sky, many millions will know that a total solar eclipse is something truly worth seeing,” according to “Nothing can prepare you for the amazing sight when the sky suddenly darkens and the sun’s corona shines in the sky. No photograph can capture the stunning beauty.”

The last total eclipse in the U.S. happened on Aug. 21, 2017, when the path of totality swept from Oregon to South Carolina within a narrow 73-mile-wide band. The width of next week’s path will be about 115 miles.

According to NASA, the next total solar eclipse visible in the U.S. after April 8 won’t be until 2044.

City News Service contributed to this report.

Leave a Comment