This coming Monday, August 21st, many people will be going outside and looking up to see the moon completely eclipse the sun. There are many questions about solar eclipses, and we have answers for you!
1. What Is A Total Solar Eclipse?
A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon, the sun, and the Earth all line up where the moon completely blocks out the sun. Some people may think it’s not a big deal, but when you hear about the details on how it occurs, it’s amazing how it happens! The moon needs to be just the right size and distance from Earth in order for the total eclipse to occur. Scientists believe that in about 600 million years, humans won’t be able to see these types of solar eclipses anymore because the moon is slowly moving away from Earth.
2. Where Can I See The Eclipse?
In the United States, a partial solar eclipse will be visible everywhere. To see the total solar eclipse, you will need to be in certain states. The path of the eclipse starts in Oregon and ends in South Carolina. The states in the diagonal path between Oregon and South Carolina that will be able to see the total solar eclipse are Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. This is the first coast to coast eclipse in 99 years!
3. I Live In A State That May Not See The Total Eclipse And Can’t Get To A Different Location. Is There Anywhere Else I Can Experience The TOTAL Eclipse?
If you are unable to travel to another state to see the total eclipse, you are in luck! NASA will be live streaming the eclipse between 11:45 AM eastern time, and 4:15 PM eastern time. That’s 4 and a half hours of the total eclipse! It may not have the same effect as seeing it live in person, but you can have an up-close and personal view of the eclipse from your bedroom!
4. Can I Look Directly At the Total Eclipse To View It?
No! Never look directly at the eclipse UNLESS you have the appropriate eye protection. And just so you know, sunglasses do not count! Think about a normal sunny day, you can’t look up at the bright sun or else you start to damage your eyes, the same is for the eclipse. Most of the damage would come from looking up for a long time while waiting to see the eclipse happen. If you want to safely view the Total Eclipse this week, get yourself a pair of ISO-approved glasses and wear them the entire time you gaze up at the sun.
5. I Already Where Prescription Glasses, Do I Need To Take Them Off To See The Eclipse Through The ISO Approved Glasses?
If you already where prescription glasses, you will need to put the eclipse glasses over your regular glasses. Normal prescription glasses magnify light, so you want to make sure you have the filtered glasses (the ISO approved glasses) over your regular glasses.
6. How Often Do Solar Eclipses Occur?
Total solar eclipses usually occur on Earth every year or two. However they are only visible from the middle of the ocean so they are normally not seen by people. The last time a total solar eclipse was seen by the United States was 38 years ago in 1979. However this will be the first coast to coast total solar eclipse in 99 years! The moon is slowly moving away from us, about 1.5 inches each year, and in about 600 million years it will no longer appear big enough to cover the sun, no longer creating a solar eclipse.