WILLIAMSTOWN -- For people in the eastern United States, the sun will rise half covered by the moon on Sunday morning, Nov. 3, and the partial eclipse will last about 3/4 of an hour.
A total solar eclipse will sweep across Africa about two hours later on that Sunday, when it will be afternoon, six hours later, in west Africa.
To safely look at the partial phases people will have to make a simple "pinhole camera" (merely a 3 mm or so hole in a piece of paper that is used to project the sun onto another piece of paper, and then you look at that second paper with the sun behind you) or else get special filters, almost a million times darker than ordinary sunglasses -- made to be safe for observing the sun.
In the United States, the partial eclipse will be visible at sunrise, 6:30 a.m. on that day in the Eastern Standard time zone. The sun’s diameter will be over 50 percent covered by the silhouette of the moon at sunrise in Boston and New York, and 47 percent covered in Washington, D.C., and Miami.
Professor Jay Pasachoff of Williams College, chairman of the International Astronomical Union’s Working Group on Eclipses, will be in Gabon with a team of students, colleagues, and tourists to observe the eclipse.
Images of the eclipse, weather permitting, should be available at the web at http://slooh.com; Michael Kentrianakis of the Williams College team is arranging for the transmission on site in Gabon and Gabon national television might also be transmitting images.