Everything you need to prepare for the North American solar eclipse.
Don’t miss the chance of a lifetime! On August 21st, every person in North America will have the chance to witness a total solar eclipse. Those lucky enough to live along the path of totality from South Carolina to Oregon will be able to see it from their front porch. If you live outside of the path, keep reading to learn where you can watch this incredible phenomenon.
The last total solar eclipse that could be viewed from North America happened 38 years ago on February 26, 1979. The path of that event went from Washington to Quebec. The August 21st solar eclipse is the first one since 1918 to cross from the Atlantic Coast to the Pacific Coast.
The next total solar eclipse visible from North America won’t be for another six years from now on October 14, 2023, and will travel a path stretching from Florida
What Is A Solar Eclipse?
Solar eclipses are a natural phenomenon when planets fall into perfect alignment. Particularly, when the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth it creates a solar eclipse. A total eclipse is when the Moon completely blocks the Sun as it passes before it.
What prevents a total solar eclipse from happening each month is that the Moon is not in a perfectly circular orbit and it is not in the same orbital plane of the Earth. Also, the Moon’s orbit is tilted when compared to the Earth’s orbit around the sun. Therefore it is a very rare occurrence when a total solar eclipse occurs.
The Best Place To View This Solar Eclipse
There happen to be several locations one can visit to witness the total eclipse. However, the maximum time of totality for this event will be just over 2-minutes. Carbondale, Illinois is predicted to have a 2-minute, 41.6-second duration of totality beginning at 1:20 PM CDT.
However, you do not need to be located along the path of totality in order to experience this event. To find out more about this natural phenomenon, NASA has a tremendous amount of information about the 2017 solar eclipse. Visit here to learn about it.
Tips On Safe Viewing
It is not safe to look directly at the Sun during a solar eclipse as it can result in permanent damage to your eyes and possibly even blindness. Eye protection with viewing glasses specially designed for this can be used along with indirect viewing techniques.
A pinhole camera is still the standard used to introduce safe viewing of a solar eclipse to children. It is still a reliable method used by adults as well. NASA has also put together a great resource page on how to safely view this event. It can be found here.