Astronomers announced that on Monday, August 21, the sun will be completely covered by the moon in what has been named the “Great American Eclipse.”
It will be the first time the event occurs in the last 99 years, becoming a nationwide event for spectating. Some go as far as relating the event to a holy cause, even though solar eclipses are astronomical phenomena that had occurred since before humans even existed.
The moon will cast a 100-mile wide shadow on the Earth, moving thousands of miles in a couple of hours. The eclipse will be visible from all of the continental U.S.
The Great American Eclipse
Total solar eclipses are an emotional experience for many, mainly because one can feel the solar system in motion, as the Earth, the moon, and the sun will be completely aligned in a perfect billiard shot. It is advised not to capture pictures but instead to try and immerse oneself in the experience. The eclipse will not last over two minutes as it reaches its state of totality, and no camera is able to capture the different levels of light, dark, and colors that you could appreciate with your own sight.
Although there will be several great places to see the Great American Eclipse, the weather will be a critical factor in choosing one. The so-called path of totality goes from Oregon to South Carolina, and any location within it will be an ideal spot for admiring the eclipse. On the other hand, the western parts of the U.S. appear to have the highest probability of favorable weather, specifically from the Willamette Valley in Oregon to Nebraska’s Sandhills. The best solution is to check weather forecasts in advance to ensure seeing the eclipse in its whole.
Another part of viewing the eclipse is determining whether you plan on moving with it or not. Because the eclipse will oversee all of the U.S., aficionados are planning on chasing the eclipse, mostly because there is a chance that a cloud obstructs the moment the eclipse reaches its totality.
People plan on camping during eclipse day, since it will occur on August when the season appears to be optimal for an eclipse to occur. Renting a recreational vehicle or putting a tent on the eclipse’s path of totality is an ideal way to enjoy the historic event. It is ill-advised to book a hotel, seeing that it will keep you grounded to a location and unable to go somewhere else if there is an unfavorable weather.
When it comes to weather forecasts within the eclipse’s path of totality, Madras, Oregon, appears to be the best of the bunch. In this town, the totality will last 2 minutes and 4 seconds, as it lies almost exactly below the path of totality. Madras is also away from the risk of being covered by marine clouds, and it is easy to reach from Portland, after driving for little more than two hours.
It is advised not to look directly at the sun whenever any part of it is visible; this is without an approved solar filter. Not even sunglasses or exposed film rolls are safe for viewing directly at the sun, as it may result in permanent eye damage. The best solution is to acquire quality eclipse glasses. Otherwise, it is best to refrain from directly watching the eclipse. On the other hand, it is safe to look directly at the sun’s corona during the two minutes of total eclipse, even while using binoculars or a telescope. It is important to divert the look when suddenly everything becomes brighter to avoid damage.
The events that take place during a solar eclipse are well documented. The first is when the moon breaks the sun’s perfect circle. In this stage, it is not safe to look directly at the sun unless eclipse glasses are worn. The moon will keep biting away the sun until it becomes a thin crescent.
The process may take about an hour until daylight gets reduced significantly, everything growing darker by the minute. While this occurs, eclipse aficionados suggest watching at wildlife to see how they react to a suddenly darkened day.
Eventually, the totality of the moon’s shadow will be cast over the Earth, calling for a reaction of everyone who’s watching the event. If eclipse glasses are being worn at this time, it is safe to have them removed. If you are eager to take photographs, the best solution is to use a still camera in time-lapse mode on a tripod so you can watch the eclipse without having to manage equipment.
Stars and planets will be visible during totality, including Mercury to the left of the sun and Mars to the right. Venus will also be partially visible far to the right of the sun, as it will be the brightest object in the sky besides the sun itself.
Source: Great American Eclipse