Are you ready for a rare “horned” crescent sunrise eclipse? On Thursday, June 10, 2021 a “ring” solar eclipse will be visible from just north of Lake Superior in Canada at sunrise, ceasing as a ‘ring of fire’ sunset in Siberia, Russia. It’s the highlight of the summer stargazing season.
Those in the northeast U.S. will miss out on seeing a “ring of fire” on June 10, but early-risers will arguably be treated to an even more beautiful sight in the form of an eclipsed sunrise.
From the Atlantic coast from South Carolina northwards early-risers will have a chance to see the odd sight of an eclipsed sunrise (here’s exactly when you can see it from every U.S. state in the path).
For those in New York, New Jersey, New England and southeastern (and maritime) Canada the Sun will rise deeply eclipsed. Going northwest even more of the Sun will be covered.
If you’re in Europe, here’s what you’ll see.
Where to see ‘solar horns’
But for those in New Jersey and New York primed to see something even stranger—“red devil horns” as two limbs of the Sun poke above the horizon. As the Sun appears on the east-northeast horizon at 5:24 a.m. EDT (58º from north, to be precise) it will be 73% eclipsed, but it will also appear “cusps up,” with the two extremes of a “smiley face” crescent Sun peeking above the eastern horizon.
They’re known as the “devil’s horns” or “solar horns.”
“It’ll be worth scouting around ahead of time for an unobstructed view to the northeastern horizon,” said Sky & Telescope’s observing editor Diana Hannikainen. “You should witness a thrilling sight on the morning of June 10 as the horns of the solar crescent float into view above the horizon.”
It’s a very weird thing to see, though you do need to stay safe because just after the deep partial crescent sunrise eclipse, the Sun will get too bright and solar filter eclipse glasses will be required.
That will be worth doing because the spectacle will also involve some weird optical illusions. Soon after the crescent Sun rises, the moment of maximum eclipse arrives, and they will swivel as the Moon moves quickly across the Sun’s disk and begins to move away until, at 6:31 a.m. EDT in New York City, the Moon will disappear completely.
Why you need to see ‘solar horns’
“It’s not often one lives on the maximum eclipse line for a sunrise or sunset eclipse—that’s rare,” said Mike Kentrianakis, an eclipse-chaser and member of the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York, who is hosting an event to view the rare sunrise solar eclipse at 5:24 a.m. EDT from Field #40 on Randall’s Island, NYC (solar filters will be provided for free).
There will be an unobstructed view of the eclipsed Sun rising over The Bronx. “All will be amazed by a truly unique natural, phenomenal sunrise for all to enjoy with their eyes and remember for life,” said Kentrianakis.
However, it’s not quite a once-in-a-lifetime sight. Though a sunrise coinciding with the peak of a solar eclipse is a very rare occurrence for any given location, it has happened only twice in the last 150 years in New York City—according to eclipse expert Joe Rao—in September 29, 1875 and October 2, 1959.
How to plan a view of the ‘solar horns’ sunrise eclipse
Find yourself a clear unobstructed view low to the eastern horizon—such as a beach. You can use PhotoPills to organise your sight lines, consult an interactive Google Map and see animations of exactly what you’ll see according to your location.
“New Yorkers need to prepare a bit—they need to find a line-of-sight view of the horizon, compass heading 058°,” said Kentrianakis. “This poses a challenge for New York City it is a concrete jungle of tall skyscrapers and buildings.” Getting clear of them is the key.
Where to watch the ‘solar horns’ sunrise eclipse
The further east you go, too, the lower the buildings get and thus the chances for a clear horizon. A million-dollar condominium overlooking Central Park would be perfect. “The rest of us will need climb heights we didn’t know exist around the city,” said Kentrianakis. “One such vantage point would be the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges, all of which have walkways for pedestrians to get nice and high (and) I know for sure the recently renamed RFK bridge provides an unobstructed view for sunrise that day.”
“Rooftops are a nice place to go to for people that live in apartment buildings,” said Dr. Jackie Faherty, Senior Scientist and Senior Education Manager jointly in the Department of Astrophysics and the Department of Education at the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan. “It’s a sunrise moment where you want the horizon, so look to the water. You need your clearest views looking east.”
“Tall buildings in New York City with a clear view of the sunrise would be a great way to view this eclipse,” said Michael Zeiler, editor of GreatAmericanEclipse.com. “The coast of Long Island will also give a great view of the rising eclipse.”
Meanwhile, the Empire State Building in Manhattan will hold an exclusive eclipse party for 25 socially distanced guests on its 86th floor observation deck.
Where will the ‘ring of fire’ eclipse be seen from?
That path is up to 327 miles wide and will begin in Canada. It will cross northern Greenland and also the North Pole, the only solar eclipse in the 21st century to do so. So this is an eclipse whose shadow across Earth first travels north, then south.
When is the next ‘ring of fire’ annular solar eclipse?
On October 14, 2023 a ‘ring of fire’ lasting 5 minutes 17 seconds will cross the American southwest via some fabulous national parks in Orgeon, Utah Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico (such as Bryce Canyon, Arches and Canyonlands). It will also cross Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula and Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Columbia and Brazil.
Wishing you clear skies and wide eyes.