All of North America is set to witness one of biggest marvels of nature: a total solar eclipse, on August 21, 2017. During this rare historic phenomenon you will see the sun completely disappear behind the moon, turning daylight into twilight. Anyone within the path of totality can witness one of nature’s most awe inspiring sights.
Who all will be fortunate enough to witness this astonishing celestial event?
Also called, “Great American Eclipse”, it will darken skies all the way from Oregon to South Carolina, along a stretch of land about 70 miles (113 kilometers) wide. Observers outside the path will still see a partial solar eclipse where the moon covers part of the sun's disk.
In 2017, an estimated 500 million people will be able to observe the total solar eclipse, in partial or total form: 391 million in the U.S., 35 million in Canada, and 119 million in Mexico (plus Central America and parts of South America and northwestern Europe).
What makes this event so special?
This a total solar eclipse which means the moon will pass between the sun and Earth and block all or part of the sun for up to about three hours, from beginning to end, as viewed from a given location. The last time people of America were able to witness such an event was in 1979.
For this eclipse, the longest period when the moon completely blocks the sun from any given location along the path will last about two minutes and 40 seconds.
How to can you safely see it without damaging the eyes?
According to safety warnings issued by NASA, one should not look directly at the sun without appropriate protection except during totality as that could cause serious harm to the eyes.
However, with the help of various sorts of filtering device or indirect viewing, one can safely view the eclipse.