Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Solar Eclipse 2017

Total solar eclipse of Aug 21, 2017

Okay, those of you in the US...it's time to start planning for August 21, 2017, the day of the next solar eclipse when the path of totality will carve a swath across the continent from Oregon to South Carolina. 14 states in all will experience the umbra. 



Solar eclipses, as you probably know, are relatively rare. The occur when the moon passes between the earth and the sun and appears to cover the sun, or at least hide it from sight. 

Lunar eclipses, also fun to observe, are more common. A lunar eclipse may be observed when the moon passes behind the earth in relation to the sun and the three orbs are in a straight line, i.e. with Earth in the middle, and the earth's shadow appears on the surface of the moon.

The last solar eclipse visible from North America was in 1979. The one after this is in 2044, although, if you don't mind travelling to South America or Antarctica, you might see one before that.

Remember:

  1. Keep fingers crossed for a clear day.
  2. Prepare ahead of time by having the appropriate glasses at hand and by knowing that you'll be in a safe place for viewing.
  3. Watch the video below.

The entire event will consume 2 to 3 hours. 

Oregon will be the first to observe the eclipse when it passes just south of Portland in the morning, with totality around 10:17 am. 

For family in North Carolina, Asheville is only about 25 miles outside of the path of totality but you're so close, you could travel to Franklin or Greenville, SC both of which are in the path of totality. Starting at 2:35 pm Franklin will experience 2 and a half hours of totality. Of course, the actual eclipse will begin well before that and it's always exciting to see the disc of the moon sliding over top of the sun. If you decide to stay in Asheville, 99.2% of the sun will be covered at 2:37 pm which is still pretty awesome to witness, especially since you'll see it from your front porch. Weather-permitting. Even on a cloudy day, though, it will get dark. 

Goodbye, shadow!

The path of totality is 60 to 70miles wide. Outside of that, you'll still see part of the sun being covered by the moon. One of the best viewing spots to watch from (ideal for both Oregon and Western North Carolina is the top of a hill or mountain.

Where I live, in southern Ontario, the eclipse will be partial, with the disc of the moon passing over only part of the sun. We will still require the proper glasses of equipment to view it safely.

Jacquie "liked" this video on Facebook and I agree that it's awesome. Have a look.


and for all of us nerds: