In the Shadow of the Sun
North American Total Solar Eclipse 2017
On August 21st, 2017, one of the most awesome spectacles nature has to offer will sweep from the Oregon coast to South Carolina. I am talking about a Total eclipse of the sun !! and the next one for North America will not happen again until 2024. Viewing this spectacular event should be a on any Roadglider’s List !!
A total eclipse of the sun happens when the moon aligns perfectly between the Earth and the sun. The moon blocks out the disc of the sun and only the corona is visible. The area underneath is shaded into a deep twilight while the sun looks like a black disc with the corona radiating out.
The Corona, crown in spanish, is the outer layer of the sun’s atmosphere. It consists of hot ionized gas called plasma, and extends millions of miles into space. It is about as bright as the full moon, so it is hidden by the brightness of the sun and is only visible to the naked eye during an eclipse.
To view a total eclipse you must be located in the Umbra, along the Path of Totality. A point on the ground where the moon is perfectly aligned to block out the entire disc of the sun. It can be as long as 10,000 miles and only 100 miles wide.
An eclipse can be really cool but also very dangerous. Even though the sun may be covered, the rays can be damaging to the eye. Permanent damage to the eye will occur by staring at the sun even if it is 99.9% covered by the moon.
Watching the eclipse through sunglasses, binoculars, cameras, or a telescope will damage your eyes unless you are using a proper filters. There is a wide array of different glasses and filters to use. Welders Goggles with a rating of 14 and up are a very good and inexpensive way to safely view the eclipse. However, be very careful, even with the proper viewing optics, you should only look for a short time and turn away every few seconds to rest your eyes.
Another important thing to remember ! As the event reaches totality, when the eerie dark twilight descends and the sun becomes a black disc with the corona dancing around its edge. Take a minute, put down your cameras, binoculars, phones, and anything else that’s distracting you ( Please Keep on your Glasses). Look around and soak in one of nature’s most wondrous sights. No pictures or videos will match what you will be remembering forever.