As the August 21st solar eclipse approaches, you may be wondering what you can expect to see, what occurs on an astronomical level, and how you can admire the great upcoming eclipse safely. We’re here to fill you in!
The eclipse will begin Monday morning in Oregon at approximately 9:00 AM Pacific Time (PDT), and will continue through 4:00 PM Eastern Time (EDT) in South Carolina Monday night. Some areas between Oregon and South Carolina will be in the 70-mile stretch of land experiencing a total eclipse, including parts of Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and North Carolina. This is a great opportunity to witness one of nature’s most incredible spectacles.
Those living in this “full eclipse zone” are in for an amazing sight: when total eclipse occurs, the moon completely blocks the sun’s bright face, leading to the landscape darkening, the stars being visible and bright, and the temperature suddenly dropping. The stark black silhouette of the moon can be seen hanging in the sky, ringed by the sun’s outer atmosphere, creating a stunning visual of a gleaming white ring around the dark moon—this is called the solar corona.
To witness a total eclipse is a truly awe-inspiring experience.
The rest of the continental United States will experience a deep partial eclipse, where the moon will cover half or more of the sun’s face. The American Astronomical Society reports that since it is as bright as the full moon, the totally eclipsed sun is safe to look at directly. A partial solar eclipse, however, is unsafe to look at directly without using a special solar filter (visit the Solar Eclipse Across America website for safety tips and suggested ways to view the eclipse without injuring your eyes).
Perhaps the most remarkable detail about this eclipse is that the moon’s shadow crosses the continental United States, yet touches no other country as its travels 8,600 miles across the Earth’s surface. Because of this, many are calling it the “Great American Eclipse” or “All-American Eclipse”.
You can find additional information about the eclipse online at www.eclipse2017.nasa.gov.