The solar eclipse is almost here!
This is the first total solar eclipse in the continental United States since 1979. It only occurred in the Northwest affecting five states, unfortunately, it was during the winter when most days were cloudy. Because of that, not a lot of people were able to view it.
This year the eclipse is going across the entire continental U.S., the last time this happened was in June 1918. Technology has changed since 100 years ago and scientist are prepared to discover unique opportunities for science. It will be starting at 10:15 a.m. PDT in Oregon and continuing its path to South Carolina. It will take approximately one hour and 40 minutes to cross the country.
Fourteen states will be able to experience a few minutes of darkness in the middle of the day. Although, everyone living in the continental U.S. will be able to view at least a partial eclipse.
What Is An Eclipse?
A total solar eclipse happens when the moon gets between the sun and the earth. This causes the moon to block the suns light and cast a shadow on the earth. The area for a total eclipse on the earth is pretty small. If you’re lucky enough to see a total eclipse it means you are right in the middle of the moon’s shadow.
Being in the path of the total eclipse you will lose nearly 100% of your normal daylight and will be able to see stars. If you’re witnessing a partial eclipse you may not even notice depending on where you live.
A total lunar eclipse occurs when the earth gets between the sun and the moon. The earth cast its shadow onto the moon which happens only at night. You can see a lunar eclipse anywhere on the night side of the Earth which allows more people to view it.
How Long Does An Eclipse Last?
A total lunar eclipse can last 3-4 hours where a total solar eclipse only lasts for a few minutes. The reason a lunar eclipse last longer is because the earth’s shadow is bigger. So it takes longer for the shadow to pass over the moon.
The full moon will appear to be the same size as the sun blocking the suns rays from reaching the earth. Since the moon is smaller it has a shorter distance to travel before we see the sun starting to appear again.
Find out the exact time the eclipse is happening in your area by clicking on this link:
click on this link ➡ Eclipse Map for times in your area ►
7 Solar Eclipse Fun Facts
- A total solar eclipse can only happen when there is a new moon. A new moon is the first phase of the moon and is missing from the night sky. Fortunately for us, the new moon, sun, and Earth will align perfectly. This alignment will create the total solar eclipse.
- The moon needs to be closer in orbit to the Earth to completely cover the sun. If the moon was further away the outer edges of the sun would be visible around the outside edges of the moon. This is an annular eclipse also know as a “ring of fire.”
- Only a 70-mile section of the U.S. will get to experience the path of the moons total shadow. Fortunately, this section will stretch from coast to coast in the U.S. Allowing more people to view it.
- Once the moon moves in front of the sun it creates a “diamond ring.” It’s only visible for 10-15 seconds before and after totality. The suns outer glow surrounds the moon creating a diamond ring effect.
- The moon always rises in the east and sets in the west. Yet the shadow is coming from the west and moving toward the east. It seems backward, but if you pay attention to the shadows on the ground they are on the opposite side of the sun.
When the sun rises in the east the shadows are in the west. As the sun moves towards the west the shadows move towards the east.
- It’s impossible to follow the shadow of the moon unless you were in a fast flying jet. The moon is traveling east at about 3,400 km/hour and the Earth is traveling about 1,670 km/hr (at the equator). So the shadow is moving toward the east about 1,730 km/hr. You would have to travel at Mach 1.5 to keep up.
- The next annular solar eclipse that will be visible from the continental U.S. will happen on October 14, 2023. It will be visible from Northern California to Florida. The next total solar eclipse will happen on April 8, 2024.
Don’t stare at the sun! The human retina is very sensitive to light, the sun’s surface is so bright it only takes a few seconds to do damage. Even if the moon blocks 99% of the sun, it can still cause eye damage.
Even if you are wearing correct safety glasses don’t look at the sun for too long. The infrared ‘heat’ from the sun warms the eye and can overheat the tissues and fluids in the eye. Don’t assume you can look away quickly enough to avoid eye damage, it’s not worth the risk.
If you want to see what the sun looks like go online, you can even find many apps for your smart phone. Check out NASA’s website to view thousands of pictures. They will be taking pictures by telescopes, aircraft’s, balloons, and spacecraft! If you won’t be able to see it live, watch NASA’s Live Streaming Video.
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