ST. LOUIS – A rare phenomenon is primed for the skies on Saturday. The “ring of fire” solar eclipse is coming soon, and St. Louis is within the path to experience a partial eclipse.
During a solar eclipse, the moon briefly obscures the sun, casting cities into a temporary, eerie twilight. When in totality, the eclipse leads to a unique circle of light with darkness in the middle.
This upcoming annular solar eclipse, however, is slightly different from the last solar eclipse in August 2017. It occurs while the moon is at its farthest point from Earth, and it does not fully block the sun, leaving a portion of the sun visible behind it.
The Path of The Eclipse
Tens of millions will have a chance to see the eclipse around the United States, but the path of totality only runs through a small handful of states. The Four Corner States (Arizona, Colorado, New Mexcio and Utah) are set for the best experience. Parts of Nevada, Oregon and Texas are also expected for totality. Click here for NASA’s view of the path.
At its peak, the City of St. Louis will see a maximum partial eclipse of around 54.2%. The further south or west you’re situated from the city, the more likely you’ll see a slightly larger maximum eclipse. The further north or east you’re situated from the city, the more likely you’ll have a shorter eclipse-viewing exeperience.
Timeline & Forecast
According to FOX 2’s weather team, keep the following times in mind for viewing the eclipse in St. Louis on Saturday…
- Partial eclipse begins: Approximately 10:32 a.m.
- Maximum eclipse: Approxmately 11:57 a.m.
- Partial eclipse ends: Approxmately 1:26 p.m.
The viewing experience will largely depend on weather conditions Saturday. Forecasts are calling for overcast skies on Friday, though there is hope things will clear up by Saturday morning for an optimal viewing experience. Download the FOX 2 weather app to stay up-to-date on weather conditions.
If you’re looking at the skies during the eclipse, even for partial views, experts recommend using NASA-approved solar viewing equipment like eclipse glasses, a telescope or a camera with an approved solar filter, or a pinhole viewer.
For most people, glasses are the easiest options. You must look through safe solar viewing glasses to take in the eclipse, and there’s not really any point you can look up safely without them until the partial eclipse ends. NASA says you can reuse your glasses from 2017 if the filters aren’t scratched, punctured, or torn.
The Science Center will offer free eclipse-viewing glasses to 4,000 visitors at the October SciFest show on Saturday. Some local library branches around St. Louis County and St. Charles County may also have some glasses available, but you’ll want to check in advance. Check retailers like Walgreens, Schnucks and others if you’re still in need of eclipse-viewing glasses.
NASA gives further recommendations for glasses and viewing safety.
Where can I watch the eclipse?
The Saint Louis Science Center will host SciFest: The Great Outdoors/Eclipse Expo on Oct. 14, which will feature activities and engagement areas during the eclipse. Plan ahead early, as this event could see high demand.
St. Louis Magazine reports the following St. Louis-area spots will also host various activities and viewing opportunities:
- Gateway Arch
- Shaw Nature Reserve
- Mastadon State Historic Site (Imperial, MO)
- Jefferson College Observatory (Hillsboro, MO)
- Carlyle Lake (Carlyle, IL)
The National Parks Service adds that local parks could also be a busy spot during Saturday’s eclipse, especially those closer to totality.
If you don’t get the best viewing experience this weekend, you won’t have to wait too much longer for another phenomenon. Another solar eclipse is coming April 8, 2024, and St. Louis is expected to be closer to a full view compared to October.