The weather should cooperate over most of Minnesota for seeing Thursday’s rare sunset partial solar eclipse.

  • 4:23 p.m., eclipse begins
  • 6:15 p.m., sunset
  • 6:40 p.m., eclipse ends
  • 61 percent of the sun will disappear behind the moon in Minnesota at peak eclipse

First we deal with a band of clouds and generally light showers moving through Minnesota overnight into Thursday morning.

NWS La Crosse

Thursday’s weather trends feature morning clouds, then gradually clearing skies from west to east as a Pacific front slides through.By afternoon, most of the showers and the back edge of the clouds should be moving into Wisconsin.


Here’s a more detailed breakdown for forecast sky conditions in the Twin Cities Thursday.

We start cloudy, but all major forecast models push the cloud deck east of the Twin Cities (and most of Minnesota) before the eclipse begins at 4:23 pm. Sunset is at 6:15 pm. I can’t rule out a few lingering passing clouds during the eclipse, but skies should be mostly clear across most of Minnesota.


Minnesota: Eclipse central?

Minnesota is in a good spot to see this eclipse.

Here’s a good guide to eclipse watching from National Geographic.

The sun and moon play hide and seek on Thursday, as the lunar silhouette glides across the solar disk in a partial solar eclipse visible across much of North America.

The shadow of the rare partial solar eclipse first falls on Siberia’s Kamchatka Peninsula at 2:37 p.m. EDT on Thursday, October 23. Local viewing times will vary as the moon’s shadow travels east over much ofCanada, Mexico, and the United States, with a sunset eclipse visible from eastern states.

“The farther north and west you are on the continent, the more of the sun you will see covered,” says astronomer Jay Pasachoff of Williams College in Massachusetts, a National Geographic Society grantee. As long as 10 percent or more of the sun is eclipsed, he says, “it doesn’t matter really where you look from, as long as you have clear weather.”

Best Viewing?

How much of the sun is covered during a solar eclipse depends on how far observers are inside the penumbral shadow.

On Thursday, northern cities get more of an eclipse, with Minneapolis and Seattle seeing more than half the sun’s disk covered. Farther south, eclipse watchers in Los Angeles will see 45 percent of the sun’s diameter covered at 3:38 p.m. PDT.

Sunset will curtail the show on the eastern edge of North America. In New England the sun sets before the eclipse gets going, shutting out folks there from a view, Pasachoff says, “though some glimpses on the sunset horizon might be visible from the southeast.”

So while Westerners will watch the entire eclipse play out in the overhead afternoon skies, Easterners will be treated to only the first half of the disappearing act while the sun sets in the west. In Chicago, in the Midwest, 55 percent of the sun’s disk will disappear at 5:42 p.m. CDT just as it sets, and in Toronto the eclipse will reach 44 percent at sunset, at 6:20 p.m. EDT.


Watching the Eclipse Safely

Do I need to be like  your mom and kindergarten teacher and tell you never to look directly at the sun?

I didn’t think so.

Here are some common sense tips on how to safely watch the eclipse

Anyone observing the partial eclipse should take precautions not to damage their eyes by looking directly at the still blindingly bright sun.

Without special filter-protected glasses and telescopes, you should never look directly into the sun. But there are safe and easy alternatives for enjoying the eclipse show. Pasachoff suggests looking for images of the sun cast on the ground under leafy trees, or making a simple pinhole camera.

“Just punch a quarter-inch hole [about a half centimeter] in a piece of cardboard and use that to project an image, with the sun behind your shoulder while you look away from the sun,” says Pasachoff, who will be observing his 60th eclipse.

“Look at the ground under trees to see if you see pinhole images of a solar crescent.”

For more safety tips, see “How to Safely Watch a Solar Eclipse.”