Space & Science

Total Solar Eclipse after 99 years! How and where to see it safely?

Source: national geographic

If you have been waiting to experience the spectacular sight of the solar eclipse, then there’s some exciting news awaiting you. Yes, you can witness the sun disappear behind the Moon. This extraordinary phenomenon of a Total Solar Eclipse, when the Moon will set its trajectory between the Sun and Earth is expected to occur on August 21, 2017, spanning across American cities.

A Solar Eclipse ensues when the Moon passes between the Sun and the Earth, either partially or fully obscuring the Sun. A total solar eclipse can be experienced when the Moon’s passage blocks the Sun’s radiance completely, restricting sunlight from reaching the Earth altogether. This means that all the three celestial bodies are in conjunction as viewed from the Earth, and is possible when the Moon is in its new moon phase.

This angular alignment is referred to as a synergy. At this juncture, someone who is positioned within the Moon’s umbra can witness a Total Solar Eclipse. The Moon’s ostensible size completely blocks the Sun’s rays from penetrating the Earth’s hemisphere, and only the Sun’s corona is visible. Partial and annular solar eclipses on the other hand, masks only part of the Sun.

A road map of solar eclipse.

As predicted by the astronauts, people across the Unites States will be able to see this marvel phenomenon, with the Sun playing hide and seek behind the moon on August 21, 2017, when America will fall under the pathway of a Total Solar Eclipse. This incredible occurrence is all set to transpire after a period of 99 years. The much anticipated American Total Solar Eclipse is expected to darken skies across the length and breadth of Oregon and South Carolina, stretching along 113 kilometres of land. The excitement among people has created a buzz across enthusiasts, where many are expected to converge on US, to sky watch the remarkable ‘once in a lifetime’ experience.

So let’s understand how long the Total Solar Eclipse will last. The duration of observing a Total Solar eclipse depends on your discernible positioning on the Earth, i.e. where you will be viewing the eclipse from within the path of totality. According to the NASA scientists, the Moon is slotted to cover the entire disk of the Sun for about 2 min and 40 seconds. This means that if you are anywhere along the centre of the trajectory of the totality, you can eye it for that long. If you choose to move towards the edge of the path, the visibility and duration of totality will gradually decrease.

NASA representatives have predicted that though there are about 12 million people residing within the narrow band of totality, millions more live in proximity and may conveniently drive down to witness the stellar phenomenon. If you are planning to travel as well, then the best locations for viewing would be Madras Oregon, Snake River Valley (Idaho), Caper (Wyoming), Sand hills of Western Nebraska, St. Joseph (Missouri), Carbondale (Illinois), Hopkinsville (Kentucky), Nashville (Tennessee), Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Columbia (South Carolina). The Moon’s shadow on the Earth is predicted to touch the North Pacific Ocean, where the eclipse will begin at 15: 46 UTC i.e. 8:46 am Pacific Time, reaching its maximum point at 10:17 am.


Full solar eclipse credits: NASA

It is advisable to choose a location with a well-connected highway system that can be relocated easily in case of any weather threatens arising along your journey. While you ensure to position yourself for optimal viewing, safeguard yourself and your family with the proper equipment like solar viewing glasses, telescopes and cameras to enjoy the big day!

Article by Rochi.

Total Solar Eclipse after 99 years! How and where to see it safely?


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