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How to watch partial solar eclipse this Thursday

A partial solar eclipse is expected to darken the skies of North America this Thursday, Oct. 23, as the moon crosses between the Earth and the sun.
partial-eclipse

CBS NEWS - A partial solar eclipse is expected to darken the skies of North America this Thursday, Oct. 23, as the moon crosses between the Earth and the sun.

The eclipse will begin near the Kamchatka Peninsula in eastern Siberia, and then move east, according to NASA. Skywatchers will be able to see the event everywhere in North America except for northern New England and Canada's Maritime provinces, as long as the weather is clear.

Since the eclipse is partial, the sun will not be completely covered by the moon's disk, but it should still be a dramatic experience as the Earth is cast into shadow.

In Central Ohio, the event begins at 5:46 p.m. with maximum eclipse for us will occur at 6:39 p.m. This sky show ends with sunset at around the same time. 

For major West Coast cities, the eclipse will begin in the afternoon -- 1:35 p.m. local time in Seattle, 1:52 p.m. in San Francisco and 2:08 p.m. in Los Angeles -- and last about two and a half hours.

It reaches Phoenix by 2:21 p.m. local time, Denver at 3:18 p.m., Chicago at 4:36 p.m. and Dallas at 4:48 p.m.

Farther east, the eclipse begins between 5:45 and 6 p.m. local time in Boston, New York, Washington D.C. and Atlanta and ends at sunset.

For additional cities and times, NASA has posted a list online.

But if you're thinking of stepping outside to take it in, you'll need to take precautions -- DO NOT look directly at the sun. "It is never safe to look at a partial or annular eclipse, or the partial phases of a total solar eclipse, without the proper equipment and techniques," NASA warns.

Gazing at the sun without appropriate filters may lead to so-called "eclipse blindness," a serious eye injury that can cause a temporary or permanent damage to vision. Sunglasses, no matter how dark, are not safe for viewing a solar eclipse.

"Looking directly at the sun is harmful to your eyes at any time, partial eclipse or no," said Alan MacRobert of Sky & Telescope magazine. "The only reason a partial eclipse is dangerous is that it prompts people to gaze at the sun, something they wouldn't normally do. The result can be temporary or permanent blurred vision or blind spots at the center of your view."

One way to watch it safely is use glasses equipped with special solar filters, or through a dark #13 or #14 rectangular arc-welder's glass, which can be purchased at a welding supply store.

You can also create a pinhole projector by poking a small hole in a card, facing it toward the sun and holding a second card about 3 feet behind it in a shadow. You can find detailed instructions here. But again, be careful not to look up at the sun in the process.