The eclipse will be here on Monday August 21st and it’s a once in a lifetime event. As awesome as it sounds- what specifically is it and what makes it different than other eclipses? How long does it last? And what are the safety tips to keep myself and my kids safe? Here are The Deets:
Deets about the Solar Eclipse:
A total solar eclipse occurs when the disk of the moon appears to completely cover the disk of the sun in the sky. According to Space.com– the fact that total solar eclipses occur at all is a quirk of cosmic geometry. The moon orbits on average 239,000 miles (385,000 kilometers) from Earth — just the right distance to look the same size in the sky as the much-larger sun. However, these planets only line up once every 18 months. During a total solar eclipse, the disk of the moon blocks out the last sliver of light from the sun, and the sun’s outer atmosphere, the corona, becomes visible. During totality, the area inside the moon’s shadow is cloaked in darkness – similar to twilight- a very odd thing to experience in the middle of the day. Just before and just after totality, observers can see this cloak of darkness moving toward them across the landscape, and then moving away.
The path of totality for the solar eclipse is about 70 miles wide and stretches from Oregon to South Carolina. At most, the moon will completely cover the disk of the sun for only 2 minutes and 40 seconds. Check your local news for the exact times you will be able to see the totality.
What Safety Tips Should I Follow?
- Anyone planning to view the total solar eclipse should get a pair of solar viewing glasses. These protective shades make it possible for observers to look directly at the sun before and after totality.
- Sunglasses cannot be used in place of solar viewing glasses.
- During totality, when the disk of the sun is completely covered by the moon, it is safe to look up at the celestial sight with the naked eye.
- NEVER look at the sun through binoculars, telescope, camera or a smartphone camera lens without a solar filter — the magnified light can damage your eyes faster than looking at the sun unaided.
- Wear sunscreen that day as you may be outside more than usual and the sun’s rays may be more intense.
Enjoy the solstice!