The Great American Total Solar Eclipse 2017 is happening in less than a week, on August 21, 2017, and what an amazing event it is going to be!
People in all 50 states are going to the view the eclipse. Depending on where they're at, those that are within the path of totality will view the eclipse as a total eclipse of the sun; those who are not in totality will view the eclipse as a partial eclipse of the sun. Either way, it's going to be exciting!
Below is a list of eclipse facts that I put together for a program that I did for work back in July. I am sharing this information here for anyone who is interested in understanding more about what is going to happen during Monday's total solar eclipse.
# 1 - A solar eclipse happens when the sun, moon, and earth line up just right and the moon's shadow is cast over the earth.
#2 – A total solar eclipse occurs on earth about once every 18 months, but most of them occur over the ocean.
#3 – There are two parts to the moon's shadow – the penumbra and the umbra.
#4 – The penumbra is the larger part of the moon's shadow that, in the case of the August 21st, 2017 eclipse, will be observed by people in all 50 states as a partial solar eclipse.
#5 – The umbra is the smaller, darker part of the moon's shadow that lies directly in line with the moon as it passes between the sun and the earth.
#6 – The umbra's path is only about 70 miles wide and that small 70-mile-wide band of shadow is what we call the path of totality.
# 7 – In the U.S. people in all 50 states will experience the Great American Eclipse to some degree, but not all states are going to be under the path of totality.
#8 – Major cities that will be within the path of totality include Salem, OR, Casper, WY, Kansas City, MO, St. Louis, MO, Nashville, TN, Columbus SC, and Charleston SC.
#9 – When the eclipse occurs, those within the path of totality are going to experience something that very few people get to see. The sun will disappear and it will become nighttime in the middle of the day.
#10 – Some of the things that will happen during this time are – temperatures will drop, birds will begin to roost, nighttime insects will begin to sing, and stars will appear in the sky.
#11 – It has been 26 years since the last total solar eclipse in the U.S. and that one was viewed only by those in Hawaii.
#12 – It has been 148 years since the last solar eclipse in Missouri (my home state).
#13 – During the Great American Total Solar Eclipse of 2017, it will take approximately 90 minutes for the moon's shadow to cross the United States from coast to coast.
#14 – The umbra will take only about 13 minutes to makes it's trip across the state of Missouri.
#15 – The longest periods of totality will occur across the center line of the eclipse path. This is because the shadow is a circle. A location near the center of the circle will get the widest part of the shadow.
Now, those are some of the basic facts about the upcoming eclipse, but it is, by far, NOT the most important thing that you need to know if you and your family plan on viewing the eclipse. The most important thing that you need to know about the upcoming eclipse is that YOUR EYES MUST BE PROTECTED!!! Sunglasses are NOT enough! Every single person that plans on viewing the eclipse must have a pair of special mylar eclipse glasses that are made to view the sun. Without them blindness can and does occur. Please, please, PLEASE make sure your eyes are protected!
Please watch the following video in which the UALR's Darrell Heath does an excellent job of further explaining explaining everything that you and your family will need to know before Monday's eclipse.
Thanks for viewing! And safely enjoy the eclipse!
Until next time...