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Here’s what Alaskans can see – weather permitting – of the solar eclipse

Students Ana Lambrano, Chris Peter, Ian Schacht and Jordan Couture look at the partial solar eclipse at UAA on Oct. 23, 2014. (Marc Lester / Alaska Dispatch News)

Alaskans may miss the total solar eclipse as it crosses over the Lower 48 on Aug. 21, but not all is lost. A partial eclipse will still be visible across the state.

Just how much of the eclipse Alaska will be able see depends on location and, of course, the weather.

In Anchorage, about 45 percent of the sun will be eclipsed by the moon at its maximum point. The eclipse will start at 8:21 a.m., be at maximum at 9:16 a.m. and end at 10:13 a.m, according to Travis Rector, astronomer at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

In the Aleutians, the eclipse will be up to 65 percent visible. Utqiaġvik will see only 22 percent of the sun eclipsed by the moon.

Here's a handy visualization that shows the exact time and amount of visible eclipse a person will be able to see based on his or her ZIP code.

To see the eclipse, viewers will need to make the effort. The sun will dim so slowly that it won't be noticeable unless they're looking at it, according to Rector.

"Eye protection is absolutely essential," Rector wrote.

No eclipse glasses? Make a pinhole camera.

The Anchorage Museum is holding a free viewing party on its front lawn starting at 8 a.m. Aug. 21.

Eclipse glasses, solar telescopes and a sun spotter will be available, and local astronomers will be there, according to Aaron Slonecker, planetarium and programs manager for the museum.

There will also be coffee, "since it is a Monday morning," Slonecker said.

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the sun and Earth, blocking out the sun. In a total eclipse, the entire sun is blocked by the moon, but one must be in the eclipse's path of totality to experience it.

1979 was the last time a total eclipse was seen in the Lower 48. Here's a visualization of future eclipses — with information on whether the solar eclipse on Aug. 21 is the best chance to see one in your lifetime.

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