Partial solar eclipse of October 23

Update on Oct. 19: a giant sunspot has just rotated into view on the Sun. It will be perfectly located on the Sun for the partial solar eclipse this Thursday. Furthermore, it can be seen with unmagnified vision (through eclipse glasses or solar filters of course!)

This October 23, a partial solar eclipse will be visible from nearly all of North America and the easternmost part of Siberia.

By inspecting this map, you can get a very good idea of what you will see on the afternoon of October 23rd.

The red curves show the eclipse magnitude, the maximum fraction of the Sun's diameter occulted by the Moon. If your magnitude is 0.50, then half the Sun's diameter is covered. The yellow-black figures show a view of the partial solar eclipse at maximum partial eclipse where you are at.

A map like this can tell us a lot about where optimum viewing locations are, given good weather on eclipse day of course. If I could choose to be anywhere within the United States on eclipse day, I would want to be in far northwestern Michigan on the shore of Lake Michigan, near the orange linen that says 'Partial solar eclipse at maximum during sunset'. The lake will give a photogenic view of the setting sun with an eclipse magnitude of 0.60. Plus, a bonus of reflections in the lake. 

But anywhere in the region from Michigan down to the Alabama and Georgia will offer a nice sunset view. Just be certain to be in a high location with an excellent western horizon. I expect to see the best eclipse photographs on October 23rd from this area. Even if you are not an experienced astrophotographer, try your hand at this and use a long lens on your DSLR.

While I won't be along this line, I will be in a special location on eclipse day. I will be attending the Solar Eclipse Conference 2014 at the National Solar Observatory at Sacramento Peak, New Mexico. The foremost eclipse experts will be gathered there and a chief topic will be the Great American Eclipse of 2017.