Most of the lower 48, especially the western half, got in on a breathtaking celestial event earlier today, an annular solar eclipse. Unfortunately, we here in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin weren’t able to witness it fully as our skies were blanketed with clouds during the time in which the eclipse was occurring. 

It won’t be until 2046 in which we’ll get our next opportunity at an annular solar eclipse. But no need to worry! This was just a sneak peek of the solar eclipse that is scheduled to occur next year on April 8th. The difference however, next year’s eclipse is known as a “total” eclipse rather than an “annular” eclipse. To make a long story short, the entire sun will be engulfed by the moon, allowing the sun’s corona to beautifully outline the moon!

Those who live in southern Texas, southern Illinois, upstate New York, and northern Maine will be able to get in on the full extent of the eclipse. With how close the Stateline is to the path of the moon’s shadow, we will be able to witness 80%-90% of it. 

Being prepared is key. When watching a solar eclipse directly with your eyes, you must watch it through safe solar-viewing glasses. Viewing the eclipse in any other way without a special-purpose solar filter will instantly cause severe eye injury. 

If you want to take on a fun project, you can make your own eclipse projector. All you would need is a cardboard box, a white sheet of paper, tape, scissors, and aluminum foil. With the sun positioned behind you, this makeshift projector will stream the sunlight through the pinhole punched into aluminum foil taped over a hole in one side of the box.