United States 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 see one of nature’s most awe inspiring sights.
Here are things you need to know about this one of most astonishing celestial events of the year:
1) This celestial event is a solar eclipse in which the moon passes between the sun and Earth and blocks all or part of the sun for up to about three hours, from beginning to end, as viewed from a given location.
2) Referred to by some as the “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.
3) For this eclipse, the longest period when the moon completely blocks the sun from any given location along the path will be about two minutes and 40 seconds. The last time the contiguous U.S. witnessed a total eclipse was in 1979.
4) According to safety warnings issued by NASA, one would never want to look directly at the sun without appropriate protection except during totality. That could severely hurt your eyes.
5) However, there are many ways to safely view an eclipse of the sun including direct viewing – which requires some type of filtering device and indirect viewing where you project an image of the sun onto a screen.
6) 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).
7) It will also provide scientists a unique opportunity to pursue a number of unique science and engineering problems. The very dark color of the moon can be used to calibrate X-ray imagers to properly record the ‘zero signal’ state.