Ever since the human race has existed, we, as well as our ancestors have been throwing curious glances up at the night sky. And, more so than just mere glances, there are those who have dedicated their entire lives to studying the stars.
It seems that, no matter how much we evolve and discover our place in the universe, there will always be secrets which are just out of reach for us.
But the mystery behind star-gazing will always tickle our natural-born curiosity, as is rightly so.
Many have taken a moment to gaze up at the moon and contemplate their place in this world, or even their very existence.
Our moon, which is the only natural satellite our planet has, has been referenced and put into all kinds of different context throughout the centuries.
Some have connected it to good omens, some to bad. Well, superstitious or not, one cannot deny the beauty of a full moon or the eerie magnetism of a new moon.
But, despite the countless stars out there which we are free to gaze at all we want, one ‘star’ in particular is of special importance to us and our survival. Surely by now you’ve guessed it’s none other than the sun!
And, unlike all the other stars which are unimaginable miles away, we don’t recommend gazing directly at this particular star.
But of course, you already knew that. Then there’s the wondrous phenomenon of a solar eclipse, and this is what we’d like to focus on this time around.
That’s right dear readers and astronomy lovers; something which has taken decades to align is about to happen on August 21st.
It truly deserves the title of a ‘once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, ’ and it’s coming our way this very summer. In fact, for the lucky individuals here in the United States, it will pass right over their heads!
As we mentioned above, this phenomenon will be nothing short of a spectacular total solar eclipse, thanks to which, whole parts of the U.S. will be pitch black during the daytime. Which parts exactly?
Well, NASA says this eclipse will be overshadowing a big part of the continental USA, going from Oregon to South Carolina! That’s as much as a 70-mile wide belt, folks! To be more specific, it will pass through 11 States.
Instead of lining them up for you, we suggest you pick up a map of your country and brush up on some geography.
And for those of you wondering what all of this excitement is about, since solar eclipses are not exactly a rare thing to behold, we’d like to remind you that those frequent ones are all only partial solar eclipses.
On the other hand, the eclipse we are discussing, one where the moon entirely covers the sun, is a rare thing indeed.
Why Is It So Rare?
You see, for one of these to come into being, not only do our earth, moon, and sun have to be lined up in that exact order (an event, which, by itself, is not so rare as it occurs about every 18 months), but, what is of bigger importance, the moon’s size (predicted by its rotational speed and orbit) has to be the same as the sun’s in order to completely cover it!
Both scientists and researchers claim that it has been decades since the path will go through the United States as predicted! It will be short-lasting, however, only 2 minutes and 40 seconds, so, if you can, make sure not to miss it!
In fact, for those Americans who at that time will be on the outer edge of this long path, they may have only a few seconds time to witness the phenomenon!
The Sun’s Crown
Here’s a helpful tip from scientists: if you do manage to get a chance to observe this solar eclipse, then one of the things you should watch out for is the corona.
Here is a short explanation for those of you who have yet to come across this term: throughout a total solar eclipse, the moon’s disk blocks out the last bit of the sun’s light.
This makes the outer atmosphere of the sun, called the corona, visible to the naked eye.
But the corona is so much more than just an unclear mist. Sky-watchers have reported witnessing huge ribbons of light, which curl out and twist into the sky.
Rick Fienberg, an expert at AAS (the American Astronomical Society) and some others claim that this effect is so very unusual and astonishing to behold that it even brings a tear to some people’s awe-stricken eyes.
One Can Never Be Too Careful
But, as much as we advise you to take part as observers in the spectacular event, we also advise you to seek out guidance for what the best way to view this eclipse might be for you. There are, of course, solar-viewing glasses and even pinhole cameras.
The reason for this measure of extra precaution is the one we mentioned in the very beginning, and one we’re sure you’ve heard a million times as kids: that staring at the sun is damaging to your eyes.
Even though, there are some scientists and experts who claim that it is absolutely safe to observe the total solar eclipse once the disk of the moon has completely covered the disk of the sun.
We present you with a video from NASA tracing the Total Solar Eclipse’s route across the States:
This tracer map, greatly detailed, should help you calculate just how far you need to go if you want to bear witness to this event.
And in the case of some of you wondering when the next total solar eclipse will be, we’ve got you covered (get it?).
It’s predicted to be in 2024, and should be visible from the skies above Texas and Mexico, up towards the Midwest and northeastern part of the United States.
Well, ladies and gentlemen, we wish you luck in managing to experience this natural phenomenon, which is as equally exciting for adults as it is for kids.
After all, what doesn’t spell ‘exciting’ about experiencing first-hand the scientific and natural wonders we have only read about in books? That special feeling alone is well worth the chase, trust us!
Source: Space |Space