Is “Observing Total Solar Eclipse on Aug. 21, 2017” Part of Your Bucket List?
Dear Friends & Neighbors,
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How many of you have “observing a Total Solar Eclipse” on your bucket list? Did you know that a total solar eclipse will occur on Monday, August 21, 2017? It will be visible in totality only within a band across the entire contiguous United States ( covering: Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina). The last time a total solar eclipse was visible across the entire contiguous United States was during the June 8, 1918 eclipse.
A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between Earth and the Sun, thereby totally or partly obscuring the image of the Sun for a viewer on Earth. A total solar eclipse occurs when the Moon’s apparent diameter is larger than the Sun’s, blocking all direct sunlight, turning day into darkness. Totality occurs in a narrow path across Earth’s surface, with the partial solar eclipse visible over a surrounding region thousands of kilometers wide. This eclipse is the 22nd of the 77 members of Saros series 145, which also produced the solar eclipse of August 11, 1999. Members of this series are increasing in duration. The longest eclipse in this series will occur on June 25, 2522 and last for 7 minutes and 12 seconds.
The total eclipse will have a magnitude of 1.0306 and will be visible from a narrow corridor through the United States. It will be first seen from land in the US shortly after 10:15 a.m. PDT at Oregon’s Pacific coast, and then it will progress eastward through Salem, OR, Casper, WY, Lincoln, NE, Kansas City, Nashville, TN, Columbia, SC, and finally Charleston, SC. Total Solar Eclipse will darken skies all the way from Oregon to South Carolina, along a stretch of land about 70 miles (113 kilometers) wide. People who descend upon this “path of totality” for the big event are in for an unforgettable experience. A partial eclipse will be seen for a greater time period, beginning shortly after 9:00 a.m. PDT along the Pacific Coast of Oregon.
The longest duration of totality will be 2 minutes 41.6 seconds at about Giant City State Park, just south of Carbondale, Illinois, and the greatest extent (width) will be at near the village of Cerulean, Kentucky, located in between Hopkinsville, KY and Princeton, KY. This will be the first total solar eclipse visible from the Southeastern United States since the solar eclipse of March 7, 1970, which was only visible from Florida.in
A partial solar eclipse will be seen from the much broader path of the Moon‘s penumbra, including all of North America, northern South America, Western Europe, and some of Africa.
The August 2017 eclipse will be the first with a path of totality crossing the US’s Pacific coast and Atlantic coast since 1918. Also, its path of totality makes landfall exclusively within the United States, making it the first such eclipse since the country’s independence in 1776. (The path of totality of the eclipse of June 13, 1257, was the last to make landfall exclusively on lands currently part of the US.
If you are interested in observing this event (total Solar Eclipse), below, in italics, is excerpt from “Eye Safety During Solar Eclipses” from NASA:
The Sun can be viewed safely with the naked eye only during the few brief seconds or minutes of a total solar eclipse. Partial eclipses, annular eclipses, and the partial phases of total eclipses are never safe to watch without taking special precautions. Even when 99% of the Sun’s surface is obscured during the partial phases of a total eclipse, the remaining photospheric crescent is intensely bright and cannot be viewed safely without eye protection [Chou, 1981; Marsh, 1982]. Do not attempt to observe the partial or annular phases of any eclipse with the naked eye. Failure to use appropriate filtration may result in permanent eye damage or blindness!
Generally, the same equipment, techniques and precautions used to observe the Sun outside of eclipse are required for annular eclipses and the partial phases of total eclipses [Reynolds & Sweetsir, 1995; Pasachoff & Covington, 1993; Pasachoff & Menzel, 1992; Sherrod, 1981]. The safest and most inexpensive of these methods is by projection, in which a pinhole or small opening is used to cast the image of the Sun on a screen placed a half-meter or more beyond the opening. Projected images of the Sun may even be seen on the ground in the small openings created by interlacing fingers, or in the dappled sunlight beneath a leafy tree. Binoculars can also be used to project a magnified image of the Sun on a white card, but you must avoid the temptation of using these instruments for direct viewing.
The Sun can be viewed directly only when using filters specifically designed for this purpose. Such filters usually have a thin layer of aluminum, chromium or silver deposited on their surfaces that attenuates ultraviolet, visible, and infrared energy. One of the most widely available filters for safe solar viewing is a number 14 welder’s glass, available through welding supply outlets. More recently, aluminized mylar has become a popular, inexpensive alternative. Mylar can easily be cut with scissors and adapted to any kind of box or viewing device. A number of sources for solar filters are listed below. No filter is safe to use with any optical device (i.e. – telescope, binoculars, etc.) unless it has been specifically designed for that purpose. Experienced amateur and professional astronomers may also use one or two layers of completely exposed and fully developed black-and-white film, provided the film contains a silver emulsion. Since all developed color films lack silver, they are always unsafe for use in solar viewing.
Unsafe filters include color film, some non-silver black and white film, medical x-ray films with images on them, smoked glass, photographic neutral density filters and polarizing filters. Solar filters designed to thread into eyepieces which are often sold with inexpensive telescopes are also dangerous. They should not be used for viewing the Sun at any time since they often crack from overheating. Do not experiment with other filters unless you are certain that they are safe. Damage to the eyes comes predominantly from invisible infrared wavelengths. The fact that the Sun appears dark in a filter or that you feel no discomfort does not guarantee that your eyes are safe. Avoid all unnecessary risks. Your local planetarium or amateur astronomy club is a good source for additional information.
In spite of these precautions, the total phase (and only the total phase) of an eclipse can and should be viewed without filters. It is crucial that you know when to take off and put back on your glasses; see Eye safety during a total solar eclipse
Total Eclipse Viewing Events (source: wkipedia), below:
- Corvallis, Oregon – The Corvallis campus of Oregon State University will host OSU150 Space Grant Festival: A Total Eclipse Experience a weekend-long celebration of the eclipse featuring hands-on activities, informative talks, interactive exhibits, an outdoor evening movie, music, food vendors and more. A watch party will also be hosted on campus the day of the eclipse.
- Madras, Oregon – The city will sponsor a four-day Solarfest at two locations.
- Prineville, Oregon – Symbiosis Gathering will be hosting a global eclipse gathering. Dubbed Oregon Eclipse, the event will feature music, workshops, and art.
- Salem, Oregon – The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry will host an event at the Oregon State Fairgrounds.
- Rexburg, Idaho – Brigham Young University Idaho will offer a series of eclipse related educational events.
- Casper, Wyoming – The Astronomical League, an alliance of amateur astronomy clubs, will hold its annual Astrocon conference, and there will be other public events, called Wyoming Eclipse Festival 2017.
- Alliance, Nebraska – Entertainment and educational seminars will be offered.
- Grand Island, Nebraska – The Stuhr Museum will host an eclipse viewing event, including the launch of a NASA eclipse observing balloon.
- Lathrop, Missouri – The city will celebrate its 150th anniversary with an eclipse festival.
- Parkville, Missouri – #TotalEclipseofthePark: An August 20 educational program featuring NASA Glenn Research Center Hall of Famer Lynn Bondurant, ’61, and August 21 watch party organized by Park University.
- St. Clair, Missouri – An event organized by the St. Clair City Chamber of Commerce.
- St. Joseph, Missouri – An event organized by Front Page Science will be held at Rosecrans Memorial Airport.
- Carbondale, Illinois – The area is calling itself the Eclipse Crossroads of America since it will also be in totality during the Solar eclipse of April 8, 2024, and since Giant City State Park, just south of the city, will experience the longest period of totality during the eclipse (approximately 2 minutes and 40 seconds). Southern Illinois University will sponsor many eclipse related educational events, including the two day Crossroads Astronomy, Science and Technology Expo, and viewing at Saluki Stadium.
- Carterville, Illinois – A three-day rock festival called Moonstock will be headlined by Ozzy Osbourne, who will perform during the eclipse.
- Goreville, Illinois – View the eclipse with the University of Illinois Astronomy Department.
- Bowling Green, Kentucky — Western Kentucky University will host 15,000 K-12 students in its football stadium.
- Hopkinsville, Kentucky – A four-day eclipse festival will be held at Jefferson Davis State Historic Site.
- Clarksville, Tennessee – Austin Peay State University will present several educational events, including an appearance by astronaut Rhea Seddon.
- Cookeville, Tennessee – Tennessee Technological University will be hosting a solar eclipse viewing party at Tucker Stadium, which is open to the public. The city of Cookeville will be hosting special events Saturday-Monday.
- Nashville, Tennessee – The largest city in the path of totality is offering many special events, including the Music City Eclipse Science & Technology Festival at the Adventure Science Center.
- Bryson City, North Carolina – Planetarium shows will be offered, as well as rides on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad to an eclipse location.
- Rosman, North Carolina – Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute (PARI) will be hosting a viewing event. The event at PARI has garnered international attention and the visitors will include about amateur astronomers.
- Rabun County, Georgia – Multiple events occur across Rabun County, including the OutASight Total Solar Eclipse Viewing Party with astronomers from Georgia State University. Other events will be held at Tallulah Gorge State Park, Black Rock Mountain State Park, and other locations in the county.
- Columbia, South Carolina – The South Carolina State Museum will host four days of educational events, including an appearance by Apollo 16 astronaut Charles Duke.
- Greenville, South Carolina – Viewing at Furman University. Events include streaming coverage from NASA, educational activities, and live music.
Viewing from outside the United States
Central America, Mexico, Caribbean islands
In northwestern Europe, the eclipse will only be visible as a partial eclipse, in the evening or at sunset. Only Iceland, Ireland and Scotland will see the eclipse from beginning to end; in the rest of the UK, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Spain and Portugal, sunset will occur before the end of the eclipse. In Germany, the beginning of the eclipse will be potentially visible just at sunset only in the extreme northwest of the country. In all regions east of the orange line in the map, the eclipse will be invisible.
Online Viewing Events
- NASA – Live video streams of the event will be available on NASA’s website.
- Exploratorium – A live-stream of the event can be seen in-person at the Exploratorium museum in San Francisco, California or online on their website.
Gathered, written, and posted by Windermere Sun-Susan Sun Nunamaker
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