Stargazing 2021: Three eclipses to darken NC skies this year

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – Solar and lunar eclipses are always fun events for stargazers. Especially since it’s not very often that the sun and moon line up just right to create these amazing views!

However, this year there is a special treat in store and you will want to mark your calendars.

We have three different eclipses that will occur this year! FOX 46 Charlotte’s Meteorologist Amanda Cox wanted to find out more, so she dropped by the Schiele Museum and Planetarium to chat with Candice Jordan

Let’s start things off with a total lunar eclipse on May 26, 2021.

“The total lunar eclipse is when the earth casts a shadow onto the moon,” said Candice Jordan with the Schiele Museum and Planetarium. “Now, you would think that it would make it completely dark, but the light can actually bend around the earth’s atmosphere and it will make it look kind of a reddish color.”

Set your clocks early though because the partial eclipse will begin at 5:44 a.m. The whole process takes about three hours, ending just before 9 a.m.

Next, is the “Ring of Fire” solar eclipse on June 10, 2021.

In a solar eclipse, the moon casts a shadow on the earth. However, this event is a little different from the total solar eclipse back in 2017.

“During an annular eclipse or the Ring of Fire eclipse, this is where the moon is in our orbit and it doesn’t completely cover the sun. So you end up getting the ring around and that’s called the ring of fire” Jordan explained.

Timeanddate.com shows the path of totality is very small from Ontario to Quebec. Therefore, not everyone in the U.S. will get to see this event. It will only be a partial eclipse for the northeast.

The next full solar eclipse to cross the U.S. will not be until April 2024.

Finally, we have a partial lunar eclipse on November 19, 2021. This one may be even more impressive than the one in May.

“With a partial eclipse, you will actually see the earth kind of move across the moon’s shadow,” added Jordan.

It will also happen in the early morning hours and only a tiny sliver will be missing. Giving us a better shot at seeing the rust color that gives it the “Blood Moon” name. Jordan said it will make for a “really cool sight” and can be easily seen without any special equipment.

Fingers crossed that we get perfect sky watching weather this year for each of these events!

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