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Rare solar eclipse to happen early Sunday

Staff Reports • Dec 15, 2015 at 1:46 PM

There's a rare hybrid solar eclipse coming at dawn Sunday.

The National Weather Service is predicting clear skies in Wilson County at sunrise, which will begin at 5:25 a.m. on Sunday, taking daylight saving time’s end into consideration.

The weather conditions will make seeing the solar eclipse – when the moon covers the sun – possible from Wilson County.

Sunday’s eclipse is known as a hybrid eclipse. When it first happens, it will be in the annular form, which is also known as a ring eclipse. At this point, the moon is not quite big enough to fully cover the sun, so it leaves what's known as a ring of fire around its periphery. But as the eclipse moves east, the curvature of the earth makes the moon appear larger, and by the time the eclipse gets to central Africa, the moon will cover the sun entirely.

Those on the U.S. East Coast can catch a partial eclipse, in which the sun will appear to have a bite taken out of it, at 5:30 a.m.

Get yourself to a place where you have a clear view of the eastern horizon, and make sure you have eclipse glasses or No. 13 or No. 14 welder's glasses. But don't be late. The window of opportunity to see the partial eclipse is just 30 minutes.

Paul Cox, an astronomer at the online observatory slooh.com, is shepherding a telescope and other equipment to a remote spot in Kenya, where he plans to live-stream the total eclipse to viewers across the world.

– MCT reports from The Los Angeles Times and Newsday contributed to this story. 

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