Hybrid eclipse to be visible from Charleston at dawn Sunday

The start of the solar eclipse in South Australia on Dec. 4, 2002. Charleston will be able to see a similar view at dawn Sunday.

Look out over the ocean at dawn Sunday and you’ll see something people don’t often get a chance to: A rare hybrid eclipse occurs just at sunrise.

What you need to know:

What it is

A hybrid solar eclipse is a total eclipse in one location but a partial in another. About one-third of the sun will be obscured by the moon on the horizon at Charleston. The total eclipse will be visible over African countries.

When to see it

The eclipse will last about 25 minutes here, said Terry Richardson, College of Charleston astronomy professor, ending a few minutes after 7 a.m.

Where to see it

You’ll need a flat eastern horizon like the ocean to see the eclipse; it ends when the sun is only 5 degrees above the horizon.

The College of Charleston offers four tips on spots:

Isle of Palms, Folly or Sullivan’s Island beaches.

The Ravenel Bridge.

Open water. Climb in a boat.

The Holiday Inn Charleston. Riverview. Outside the building facing east.

The eclipse will be visible only along the Eastern seaboard. Any farther inland and all you could see is a tiny chunk of sun missing as it rises.


As with any solar eclipse, don’t watch without protective lenses; you can destroy your eyesight.

To photograph, a solar filter is a must. For other tips go to Mr.Eclipse.com and click “eclipse photography.”

Other facts

How rare is a hybrid eclipse? In the years from 2000 BC to 3000 AD, 11,898 eclipses are expected to occur. Only 569 will be hybrid eclipses, according to astrophysicist Fred Espenak, aka Mr. Eclipse.

The nearest place to the United States to get a glimpse of the “ring of fire,” a blaze of sun around a total eclipse, would be about 620 miles east of Jacksonville, Fla. And that wouldn’t be for more than a moment.

Curiosity: If you go to the beach, you might not want to bother bringing your fishing rod. Anglers talk about sunrise, sunset, moonrise and moonset as being times when fish hit. But one of the few studies of the effect of eclipses on marine fish, a 1998 study on Galapagos Island coral reefs, found they hid in crevices until it was over.

Space.com; Sky and Telescope, Mr. Eclipse.com; Stephan G. Reebs, Universite de Moncton.

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