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Clouds could obscure solar eclipse in Philly area

Joseph A. Gambardello, Staff Writer

Updated: Monday, August 21, 2017, 12:35 PM

An annular solar eclipse in May 2012, seen from downtown Denver as the sun sets behind the Rocky Mountains.

Update: The National Weather Service’s 12:15 p.m. forecast discussion makes no major changes in the earlier predictions for afternoon cloud cover.

Dan Blanchette and his son, Sam, 6, watch the final phases of a total solar eclipse in Salem, Ore., Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. DON RYAN / AP
Solar activity can be seen as the sun emerges from a total eclipse by the moon, Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, near Redmond, Ore. TED S. WARREN / AP
As the moon almost totally eclipses the sun, the diamond ring effect is seen during a total solar eclipse as seen from Salem, Ore., Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. Small reddish coloring on upper right side of the sun is a solar prominence. DON RYAN / AP
Julian Ledger of Los Angeles photographs the eclipse while his wife Shayde Ledger and friend Annemarie Penny, right dance during totality at the Albany Regional Airport in Albany, Ore., Monday August 21, 2017. MARK YLEN / Albany Democrat-Herald via AP
Annie Gray Penuel, 9, and Lauren Peck, 14, both of Dallas, Tex., have their makeshift eclipse glasses on at Nashville's eclipse viewing party at First Tennessee Park Monday, Aug. 21, 2017 in Nashville, Tenn SHELLEY MAYS / AP
Charles Rich of Middletown, Conn., watches the eclipse at Melaleuca Field in Idaho Falls, Iowa, during the total solar eclipse, Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. JOHN ROARK / he Idaho Post-Register via AP
A large crowd gathers in front of the Hollywood sign at the Griffith Observatory to watch the solar eclipse in Los Angeles Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. RICHARD VOGEL / AP
The Tinoco family from Cyprus, Calif. gather to watch the solar eclipse at the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. RICHARD VOGEL / AP
Chris Bakley (right) and hi sister Lauren Bakely set up a camera with a 1600 mm lens Monday, August 21, 2017 at The Cove beach in Cape May, New Jersey. Chris Bakley, one of Cape May's resident astrophotographers set up a mini viewing station on the promenade so people could watch the eclipse. He also handed out 300 pairs of solar eclipse glasses. WILLIAM THOMAS CAIN / For the Inquirer
Chris Bakley (left) hands out special solar eclipse viewing glasses to linda Rubin of chicago. Il., before the solar eclipse Monday, August 21, 2017 at The Cove beach in Cape May, New Jersey. Chris Bakley, one of Cape May's resident astrophotographers set up a mini viewing station on the promenade so people could watch the eclipse. He also handed out 300 pairs of solar eclipse glasses. William Thomas Cain / For The Philadelphia Inquirer
Children watch the start of the solar eclipse while wearing safety glasses Monday, August 21, 2017 at The Cove beach in Cape May, New Jersey. Chris Bakley, one of Cape May's resident astrophotographers set up a mini viewing station on the promenade so people could watch the eclipse. He also handed out 300 pairs of solar eclipse glasses. William Thomas Cain / For The Philadelphia Inquirer
With your solar glasses or a special viewer, watch for the partial phases of the eclipse as the moon passes over the sun, a stage that lasts for a few hours. DREAMSTIME / TNS
A line wraps around the block outside Wills Eye Hospital at 8th and Market on Monday morning August 21, 2017 as the Philadelphia area prepares to view the partial eclipse. Wills Eye ran out of glass by around 10 this morning. CHRIS BRENNAN / Staff
Mark Renz, of Rochester, NY, sets up his Sunspotter, a device for viewing the solar eclipse, at his campsite Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, on the Orchard Dale historical farm near Hopkinsville, Ky. The location, which is in the path of totality, is also at the point of greatest intensity. MARK HUMPHREY / AP
The decorated car of Frank and Mary Ludwig, of La Crescent, Minn., sits at their campsite at the Orchard Dale historical farm near Hopkinsville, Ky. Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. The location, which is in the path of totality of the solar eclipse, is also at the point of greatest eclipse. MARK HUMPHREY / AP
Jim Cleveland, of Shelbyville, Ky., sets up a camera at his campsite at sunrise as he prepares for the solar eclipse Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, on the Orchard Dale historical farm near Hopkinsville, Ky. The location, which is in the path of totality, is also at the point of greatest intensity. MARK HUMPHREY / AP
A family sets up a tent at their campsite at sunrise for the solar eclipse Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, on the Orchard Dale historical farm near Hopkinsville, Ky. The location, which is in the path of totality, is also at the point of greatest intensity. MARK HUMPHREY / AP
Mike Newchurch, left, professor of atmospheric chemistry at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, and graduate student Paula Tucker prepare a weather balloon before releasing it to perform research during the solar eclipse Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, on the Orchard Dale historical farm near Hopkinsville, Ky. The location, which is in the path of totality, is also at the point of greatest intensity. MARK HUMPHREY / AP
People wait in line to buy viewing glasses for the eclipse at the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles early Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. RICHARD VOGEL / AP
From left, Shweeta Kulkarni, Rhea Kulkarni, 12, and Saanvi Kulkarni,from Seattle, Wash.,try out their eclipse glasses on the rising sun at a gathering of eclipse viewers in Salem, Ore., Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. DON RYAN / AP
Catalina Gaitan, from Portland, Ore., tries to shoot a photo of the rising sun through her eclipse glasses at a gathering of eclipse viewers in Salem, Ore., Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. ( DON RYAN / AP
August 20, 2017 Athens: Jake Flyn helps direct dozens of workers preparing the home of the Georgia Bulldogs, Sanford Stadium, for eclipse viewing and the beginning of football season on Sunday, August 20, 2017, in Athens. The university, which is in position to view a 99.1 percent blackout, will open the gates of Sanford Stadium for a massive viewing party between the hedges. The first 10,000 guests will receive a free pair of glasses specially designed to view solar eclipses. CURTIS COMPTON / CCompton@ajc.com via AP
Abhinaba Nandy, left, and Shibaji Chakraborty, who traveled from Virginia Tech, nap in Veteran's Park as they wait for the start of the total solar eclipse on Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, in Spring City, Tenn. Thousands traveled to the small town, which is in the immediate path of the eclipse, to view the solar event from the heart of the totality. DOUG STRICKLAND / AP
A crowd wears protective glasses as they watch the beginning of the solar eclipse from Salem, Ore., Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. DON RYAN / AP
Staff photo by Doug Strickland / .Tim Lucas looks through a telescope as he gets ready to view the total solar eclipse on Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, in Spring City, Tenn. Thousands traveled to the small town, which is in the immediate path of the eclipse, to view the solar event from the heart of the totality. DOUG STRICKLAND / AP
/// Here's the caption for my pic that I just sent Jonathan Moric (left) and Finn Power, both of Vancouver, Canada, get ready to watch the eclipse Monday in a park in Salem, Oregon. ANDREW SELSKY / AP
Wearing protective glasses, Jonny Ndoro, left, and his sister Mary, watch the progress of a solar eclipse in Lusaka, Zambia, Thursday, June 21, 2001. The eclipse lasted three minutes and 14 seconds over Lusaka. The first land where the phenomenon was visible was Angola. It then traveled across Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique before heading out to the Indian Ocean island of Madagascar, getting shorter along the way. THEMBA HADEBE / AP
In this photo taken Friday, Aug. 18, 2017, fourth graders at Clardy Elementary School in Kansas City, Mo. practice the proper use of their eclipse glasses in anticipation of Monday's solar eclipse. Schools around the country preparing for the solar eclipse are reacting in a variety ways, with some using the event for a full day of science lessons and others closing to avoid the crush of crowds expected in their towns. CHARLIE RIEDEL / AP
In this photo taken Friday, Aug. 18, 2017, Poureal Long, a fourth grader at Clardy Elementary School in Kansas City, Mo., practices the proper use of eclipse glasses in anticipation of Monday's solar eclipse. Schools around the country preparing for the solar eclipse are reacting in a variety ways, with some using the event for a full day of science lessons and others closing to avoid the crush of crowds expected in their towns. CHARLIE RIEDEL / AP
Shepherd Heinz Greiner watches the beginning of the total solar eclipse near Augsburg, southern Germany, on Wednesday, August 11, 1999. FRANK BOXLER / AP
**ATTN:PATRICK SISSON**Amateur astronomer Mike Conley practices on Aug. 3, 2017 with the telescope he will use to document this month�s total solar eclipse at his home in Salem, Oregon. Conley is part of a project led by the National Solar Observatory to have dozens of citizen-scientists posted across the U.S. Photograph during the Aug. 21 solar eclipse in an effort to create a live movie of its path that will help scientists learn more about the sun�s corona. GILLIAN FLACCUS / AP
David Anderson, of Bellevue, checks his telescope settings during a run-through of his procedure to record the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse. A lifelong amateur astronomer, he will be stationed near John Day in Eastern Oregon, where he will set up his gear long before dawn. "They are relying on all of us to pull our weight," he said. "I take it very seriously." KJELL REDAL / The Seattle Times / TNS
An advertisement for a festival built around the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse sits alongside a busy road leading into Madras, Oregon on June 13, 2017. The first place to experience total darkness as the moon passes between the sun and the Earth will be in Oregon and Madras, in the central part of the state, is expected to be a prime viewing location. Up to 1 million people are expected in Oregon for the first coast-to-coast total solar eclipse in 99 years and up to 100,000 could show up in Madras and surrounding Jefferson County. Officials are worried about the ability of the rural area to host so many visitors and are concerned about the danger of wildfire from so many people camping on public lands. GILLIAN FLACCUS / AP
In this Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017 photo, hopeful eclipse-watchers line up outside the Clark Planetarium in hopes of getting eclipse glasses from the gift shop in Salt Lake City. Eclipse mania is building and so is demand for the glasses that make it safe to view the first total solar eclipse to cross the U.S. in 99 years. SCOTT SOMMERDORF / The Salt Lake Tribune via AP
FILE - In this Aug. 31, 1932, file photo, eclipse watchers squint through protective film as they view a partial eclipse of the sun from the top deck of New York's Empire State Building in New York. Destinations are hosting festivals, hotels are selling out and travelers are planning trips for the total solar eclipse that will be visible coast to coast on Aug. 21, 2017. A narrow path of the United States 60 to 70 miles wide from Oregon to South Carolina will experience total darkness, also known as totality. AP FILE
On Feb. 26, 1979, the path of a solar eclipse passes over Goldendale, Wash., as William Yantis, director of Golendale Observatory, peers into a Celestron telescope. The first place to experience total darkness as the moon passes between the sun and the Earth will be in Oregon and Madras, in the central part of the state, is expected to be a prime viewing location. Up to 1 million people are expected in Oregon for the first coast-to-coast total solar eclipse in 99 years Aug. 21, 20127, and up to 100,000 could show up in Madras and surrounding Jefferson County. Officials are worried about the ability of the rural area to host so many visitors and are concerned about the danger of wildfire from so many people camping on public lands. JIM VINCENT / The Oregonian via AP
On Feb. 26, 1979, eclipse enthusiasts, photographers and television crews gather to watch the solar eclipse in Goldendale, Wash. The first place to experience total darkness as the moon passes between the sun and the Earth will be in Oregon and Madras, in the central part of the state, is expected to be a prime viewing location. Up to 1 million people are expected in Oregon for the first coast-to-coast total solar eclipse in 99 years Aug. 21, 20127, and up to 100,000 could show up in Madras and surrounding Jefferson County. Officials are worried about the ability of the rural area to host so many visitors and are concerned about the danger of wildfire from so many people camping on public lands. RANDY WOOD / The Oregonian via AP
On Feb. 26, 1979, eclipse enthusiasts gathered at Observatory Hill in Goldendale, Wash., to watch a solar eclipse. The first place to experience total darkness as the moon passes between the sun and the Earth will be in Oregon and Madras, in the central part of the state, is expected to be a prime viewing location. Up to 1 million people are expected in Oregon for the first coast-to-coast total solar eclipse in 99 years Aug. 21, 20127, and up to 100,000 could show up in Madras and surrounding Jefferson County. Officials are worried about the ability of the rural area to host so many visitors and are concerned about the danger of wildfire from so many people camping on public lands. WES GUDERIAN / The Oregonian via AP
Photo Gallery: Eclipse Watching Past and Present

Story:

Clouds — forecast for the Philadelphia area for Monday afternoon — are perhaps the last thing you want during a solar eclipse, unless you’re a party-pooper.

The question is: How much cloud cover will there be?

The National Weather Service is hedging its bets.

“There are three issues that complicate the forecast of clouds today,” the morning forecast discussion says.

You can go here to read the scientific discussion of those three factors. But for those wanting to cut to the chase, here’s the summary:

“The current sky-cover forecast is fairly optimistic east of the Delaware River (generally mostly sunny), somewhat more pessimistic from the Lehigh Valley west and northwest (increasing cloudiness this afternoon) and in between in Delmarva (partly to mostly sunny),” the NWS says.

LATER TODAY: Derrick Pitts, the Franklin Institute’s chief astronomer, will take your solar eclipse questions live on Philly.com’s Facebook page at 3 p.m. Monday, just after the eclipse’s peak in Philadelphia.

We will not see a total eclipse in the Philly area; we are in the 80 percent range. It will run from about 1:20 p.m. until 4 p.m. with the totality of the event in the sky over Philadelphia beginning at 2:44 p.m. and lasting 2 minutes and 40 seconds. Even with cloud cover, the eclipse should not be viewed without certified eye protection.

NASA also will broadcast the eclipse live, and you won’t need special glasses to watch.

Joseph A. Gambardello, Staff Writer

Read full story: Clouds could obscure solar eclipse in Philly area

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Video: Franklin Institute chief astronomer answers your eclipse questions