Shielded eyes will focus on the western horizon for Thursday afternoon and evening as a Partial Solar Eclipse will take place. Around southern Minnesota and northern Iowa, the peak eclipse will leave about 60% of the sun obscured as the moon passes between the center of our solar system and our home planet.
Here's a map of the eclipse's path. Kind of confusing to look at but here's a little explanation to what the lines mean. The purple lines from east to west over the US denotes the area that will see the eclipse (1) start at sunset, (2) hit maximum eclipse at sunset, (3) end at sunset. The green lines show what time (in UTC) maximum eclipse status will be reached. The blue lines show the percentage of coverage the moon will have over the sun. To see this map animated to help explanation follow this link.
An example for what the eclipse will look like around our area will be found here. This example is for the Twin Cities.
Everything gets going around 4:25 pm. Maximum eclipse will occur around 5:35 pm with the sun being 60% obscured. While the eclipse will continue, the sun will set at 6:13 pm, ending our viewing. Coverage will be the greatest the further north you move and will be maximized around 80% up, north of the Arctic Circle in Canada.
So the big question is, will we be able to see it? The forecast looks promising. We'll have some rain on Thursday morning, but clearing skies should commence after, with the sky being mainly clear by about 3 pm. Even if a few clouds do persist, they should not completely obscure viewing. Temperatures will be comfortable into the middle 60s for viewing.
Of course, this is the sun. You don't want to look directly into it, as the sun, even partially visible, will damage your eyes! The safest way of watching is through projection. This is done by poking a pinpoint hole into a card or piece of foil and hold it a couple feet away from the surface. This option will show the sun projected on the ground and it's crescent shape. The most common method of directly viewing the eclipse will be through a solar filter. One of the more popular means of this method is the use of a #14 welder's mask. The last option will be special optic lenses for cameras and telescopes.
Take the time to take a look, because the next time a solar eclipse occurs over the US won't happen until August 21, 2017. (Map shown below)