Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Total Solar Eclipse Less than Two Weeks Away

On Monday, August 21st a very spectacular astronomical event will take place over the United States that hasn't happened in nearly 99 years!  A total solar eclipse will occur from coast to coast, starting in Oregon and ending in South Carolina. 

A solar eclipse happens roughly once every 18 months, but in different parts of the world.  The last solar eclipse to occur in the United States was back in 1979.  According to NASA there are three types of solar eclipses: total solar eclipse, partial solar eclipse and an annular solar eclipse.

A total solar eclipse is when the sun, moon and Earth are in a direct line and is visible only from a small area on Earth.  For those who experience a total solar eclipse, day will turn to night.

A partial solar eclipse is when the sun, moon and Earth are not in a direct line with each other, causing only a portion of the sun's light to be blocked by the moon.

An annular solar eclipse is when the moon is farthest from the Earth and doesn't block the entire view of the sun.  When the moon travels in front of the sun it appears as a dark disk on top of a larger sun-colored disk, creating what looks like a ring around the moon.

Everyone in the continental United States will be able to view the eclipse, but only a small portion within 14 states will be in the path of totality. 

The image on the left is a map from NASA showing who will be in the path of totality.  Those who are outside the path of totality will still be able to view the eclipse, but only a portion of the sun will be covered by the moon.

It's very important to remember to protect your eyes during an eclipse.  NASA has put together a complete list of safety reminders for those who are wanting to view the eclipse.

It's estimated that millions of people will try and travel to where the path of totality will occur, with some suggesting travel on US highways turning horrendous.  Since the solar eclipse is still over a week and a half away, it's hard to give an accurate forecast for that afternoon.  But as we get closer, we will definitely be keeping an eye on the forecast for any potential storm systems or cloud cover that may limit viewing of the eclipse.  For a 'state by state' look at the cities and towns in the path of totality, click here.

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