Winter may be months away, but a solar eclipse is coming!
On August 21, 2017 we will experience a total solar eclipse. This means that the moon will pass between the earth and the sun during the day. Although it is thought to be a rare occurrence, a total solar eclipse actually happens about every eighteen months. This means there are two eclipses every three years.
It takes about 90 minutes for the Moon’s dark shadow to cross the country, starting around 10:15 am Pacific time on the West Coast and ending around 2:45 pm Eastern time (11:45 am Pacific time) on the East Coast. When you hear someone say, “the total eclipse lasts 90 minutes,” that’s what they mean. But that could be misleading: At any given location within the path of the Moon’s shadow, the total eclipse lasts at most 2 minutes 40 seconds.
The Moon takes its first “bite” out of the Sun, marking the start of the partial eclipse, 1¼ to 1½ hours earlier, around 9:00 am PDT on the West Coast and 1:15 pm EDT on the East Coast. The Moon uncovers the last of the Sun’s bright face 2½ to 3 hours after that, around 11:30 am PDT on the West Coast and 4:15 pm EDT on the East Coast. This marks the end of the partial eclipse.
If you want to make sure you don’t miss the short event, here is a list provided by NASA, showing the times it should happen in a handful of US cities.
If you are not near any of those cities, you can click here for more places and times.
There is also a solar eclipse app that you can download to help you keep track of when it will happen! Click here to see the app.
In order to have a total eclipse of the Sun on August 21, 2017, you must position yourself within the roughly 70-mile-wide track labeled “Path of the total solar eclipse” in the map above. Within the path of totality, weather permitting, you will see one of the most spectacular sights in all of nature: the solar corona — the Sun’s pearly outer atmosphere, which you can look at directly without solar filters or other protective measures. Outside the path of totality, you will see at most a partial solar eclipse, and only if you take special precautions to avoid eye injury.
For more information on the best spots to see the eclipse, you can visit Breaking 911.
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