A total eclipse is when the moon passes directly in front of the sun, completely hiding the solar disk and allowing the sun’s ghostly corona to spring into view. A partial eclipse is when the moon passes in front of the sun, off-center, with a fraction of the bright disk remaining uncovered.
The partial eclipse of October 23 will be visible from all of the United States except Hawaii and New England. Coverage ranges from 12% in Florida to nearly 70% in Alaska. The eclipse will be especially beautiful in eastern parts of the USA, where the moon and sun line up at sunset.
Warning: Don’t stare. Even at maximum eclipse, a sliver of sun peeking out from behind the moon can still cause pain and eye damage. Direct viewing should only be attempted with the aid of a safe solar filter.
Eleanor Imster has helped write and edit EarthSky since 1995. She was an integral part of the award-winning EarthSky radio series almost since it began until it ended in 2013. Today, as Lead Editor at EarthSky.org, she helps present the science and nature stories and photos you enjoy. She also serves as one of the voices of EarthSky on social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and G+. She and her husband live in Tennessee and have two grown sons.