One week from today, there will be a total solar eclipse. As reported by CBS News…
for the first time in 99 years, a solar eclipse will cross the entire continental United States, its path of totality, from Oregon to South Carolina, approximately 70 miles wide. A partial eclipse will be visible elsewhere. ~ http://www.cbsnews.com/news/preparing-for-the-great-american-eclipse-of-2017/
While the complete event lasts throughout most of the day on August 21, the best views will be brief. Twin Cities Geek estimates the time to be early afternoon for Minnesotans…
“The max occultation time just happens to be very close to solar noon—the time at which the sun is highest in the sky,” explained Dr. Glesener, who will be viewing the eclipse at a Solar Physics Division meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Oregon. For us here in Minnesota, we can expect max occultation at about 1:06 p.m. CDT. ~ http://twincitiesgeek.com/2017/08/when-where-and-how-to-see-the-2017-total-eclipse-in-minnesota/
What to expect during the eclipse:
Remember when you were in grade school and your teacher showed you how to put a pin hole in a piece of paper. Then, with your back to the window, you could watch the eclipse progress on the floor. If that experiment gave you the eclipse bug, that means you became a “Umbraphile” (or lover of shadows).
“When the sun is about halfway or 3/4 of the way covered, if you have a shade tree around and you look at the sunlight filtering down through the leaves of the shade tree and look down on the ground, you will see crescents on the ground, ’cause the leaves act like pinhole cameras,” said retired NASA astrophysicist Fred Espenak, who is known as “Mr. Eclipse.”
“Just before totality, the sky starts getting dark, and you get one bright bead on the edge of the sun’s disk that’s called the diamond ring effect. And then the Sun, its disk, is completely covered, and the corona is revealed in all its glory.” ~ CBS News
When does the sun move from the west to the east?
During a total solar eclipse, of course! As reported by Space.com…
Every day, the same routine. The sun rises in the east. Breakfast. Off to work. Work. Home from work. Dinner. The sun sets in the west. Repeat. It’s a pattern familiar to everyone on Earth. For countless generations, we’ve relied on the regular cycles of the heavens to help demarcate our days.
But a total solar eclipse, like the big one coming to the continental United States on Aug. 21, will break the routine. In addition to the moon completely covering the face of the sun — which, let’s admit, is already pretty spectacular— the event will move in an unfamiliar and possibly disquieting direction: from west to east. ~ Paul Sutter, astrophysicist at The Ohio State University and the chief scientist at COSI Science Center.
How to safely view the eclipse:
Looking directly at the sun is unsafe except during the brief total phase of a solar eclipse (“totality”), when the moon entirely blocks the sun’s bright face, which will happen only within the narrow path of totality (https://go.nasa.gov/2pC0lhe(link is external)).
An alternative method for safe viewing of the partially eclipsed sun is pinhole projection. For example, cross the outstretched, slightly open fingers of one hand over the outstretched, slightly open fingers of the other, creating a waffle pattern. With your back to the sun, look at your hands’ shadow on the ground. The little spaces between your fingers will project a grid of small images on the ground, showing the sun as a crescent during the partial phases of the eclipse. Or just look at the shadow of a leafy tree during the partial eclipse; you’ll see the ground dappled with crescent Suns projected by the tiny spaces between the leaves.
A solar eclipse is one of nature’s grandest spectacles. By following these simple rules, you can safely enjoy the view and be rewarded with memories to last a lifetime. More information: