Thursday, May 18, 2017

This 'n That Thursdays: August 2017 Total Solar Eclipse

From Astronomy Picture of the Day

This past weekend I got a phone call from one of my brothers asking if he could come stay with us in August when he heads in our direction to view the total solar eclipse.  Naturally my response was "What solar eclipse?" (because I am always so well informed - not!).  After he updated me on this momentous event I told him he was welcome to come as long as I was included in the expedition.  Apparently optimal viewing is less than two hours from where my husband and I live (unfortunately, my husband will be out of the country that day, so he will miss out).  My brother and I searched for a few prime viewing locations that will hopefully not be too crowded, and he is in charge of acquiring the protective glasses (recommended for anyone intending to stare at the eclipsing sun for an extended time without damaging their vision).

The path of the solar eclipse will take it pretty much straight across the continental United States, something which hasn't been seen since 1918!  And here it is happening only a few months hence practically in my backyard!  While I don't consider myself much of an astronomer, even I can get excited about an event like this one.  If you too happen to live in the path of the eclipse, you may want to plan a viewing yourself.  Should you need more information about where and when the eclipse will pass through your vicinity check out this map on the Eclipse 2017 website.

I am really looking forward to seeing this phenomenon, and just hope that the weather will be clear so that we experience the maximum effect (supposedly the skies will darken considerably when the sun is fully concealed by the moon).  The last time I remember hearing about an eclipse in my vicinity I was a small child, and we were told not to look at the sun, so I did not (I can't remember if the day darkened much, as I am not sure if this was a total or partial eclipse).  The next total solar eclipse across the United States will not happen until 2023, and I am getting on in years, so this year is probably my best opportunity to see one and I am not going to miss it!

Phases of a total solar eclipse (from MrEclipse).

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