Everything You Need To Know About The Upcoming Total Solar Eclipse

This Monday, August 21, your eyes will be in for a treat. Those in the United States will be able to see a unique astronomical phenomenon, a total solar eclipse. From the coast of Oregon to the edge of Southern California, the moon will temporarily align with the sun, blocking it from view. As a result, darkness will hit and stars and planets will be visible during the day, so whip out the telescopes.

eclipse


What is it?

In case you never took astronomy, or need a refresher, a total solar eclipse is when the Moon fully covers the disk of the Sun, leaving only the Sun’s corona visible. In actuality, the Sun is 400 times wider than the moon but since the moon is closer to Earth, to human eyes, it only appears like the Moon is covering the Sun.

It’s different from partial, or annular solar eclipses, in which the Moon blocks only part of the Sun.


How long does it last?

Many factors play into how long it’ll last, but they range from one’s location to position. The total time could range from three to seven minutes, so make sure to be prepared.


How frequent does it occur?

For a total eclipse, it’s only fully viewable from some regions, while other regions are only able to see it as a partial solar eclipse.¬†Some of the conditions under which a total solar eclipse happens is when there’s a New Moon and the Earth, Moon, and Sun are aligned in a straight line.

The last time this occurred was in in 1979, and it only passed over a few states in the Pacific Northwest. This year, it’s coast-to-coast so those on the path of totality, Oregon to South Carolina, are the best positioned to see it. Typically, total solar eclipses happen every 12-18 months, but always in different parts of the Earth. The next total solar eclipse is expected for 2019, but will only be viewable from the South of the States.

Don’t forget to put on the shades and happy viewing!

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