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On August 21, 2017, the whole of North America will  witness the first solar eclipse visible from coast to coast after almost a century – 99 years to be exact!Every part of the US will witness either a total or partial solar eclipse.

Americans have waited a good 38 years to witness a solar eclipse. Parts of 8 US states (Oregon, Nebraska, Missouri, Kansas, Illinois, Tennessee, Kentucky and South Carolina) will view a total solar eclipse on a stretch of 70 miles. It’ll touch Oregon at 9.06 am on August 21, 2017 (Pacific time) and end at 4.06 pm (Eastern time).

Solar eclipse in america

The shadow of the moon will completely cover the sun for 2 minutes and 40 secondsalong the center of the path of totality. During the total solar eclipse, you’ll not only see the night stars (during day time) but also 4 planets (Mars, Mercury, Jupiter and Venus) with the unaided eye near the eclipsed sun.

Moving towards the edge of the path, the duration of totality will decrease which may last only a few seconds. People on the area beyond the path of totality will witness partial solar eclipse.  If you are in the US and you miss this chance, you’ll have to wait until April 8, 2024 to witness the next solar eclipse…and it’ll be a different set of states.

Facts about any solar eclipse

Solar eclipse 2017

  • A solar eclipse is caused by the Moon’s shadow on Earth.
  • Solar eclipses occur only when the wobble of the Moon’s orbit brings the Moon perfectly between the Earth and the Sun.
  • Like any other shadow, even the moon’s shadow has 2 parts: the umbra and the penumbra. The umbra is the center and darkest part of the shadow. While the penumbra is the outer and lighter part of the shadow.
  • If you are in the umbra (the entire Moon is directly between you and the Sun), the Moon will completely block the Sun resulting in a total solar eclipse.
  • If you are in the penumbra (meaning the entire Moon is not completely directly between you and the Sun) you will see a partial eclipse.
  • The Path of Totality is the path of the Moon’s umbra shadow across Earth’s surface.
  • The Path of Totality is typically 10,000 miles long but only 100 miles wide.
  • The total phase of a solar eclipse lasts for only a few minutes. This is due to the motions of the Moon and the Earth .
  • Solar eclipses can only occur during a New Moon.

Words of caution

  • You can look directly at the Sun only during the brief total phase of a solar eclipse, which will happen only for a few minutes within the narrow path of totality.
  • The only safe way to look directly at the partially eclipsed Sun is through special solar filters, such as “eclipse glasses” or handheld solar viewers.
  • Homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, are not safe for looking at the Sun as they transmit thousands of times too much sunlight.
  • Do not look at the partially eclipsed Sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device.

phases of solar eclipse

  • Some NASA representatives predict that on August 21, 2017, along with the solar eclipse, America may also witness one of the worst traffic days in history. With people flocking the narrow strip of totality the population may double on the day of the eclipse in there. Make appropriate arrangements for travel and staying to avoid inconvenience.
  • An ideal way to view the eclipse is to attend an organized eclipse event. Covering even short distances could be difficult, and midday in August could mean high temperatures in many parts of the country.

So get set to view stars during daytime!