“If you have an opportunity to see this—take it. You will not be disappointed.” – Alex Young, Solar Scientist, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
For the first time in 99 years North America will experience a total solar eclipse on August 21, 2017. This is when the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth. Everyone on the continent will be able to see a solar eclipse, but anyone within the path of totality can see one of nature’s most awe inspiring sights – where day will completely turn into night.
The total solar eclipse will appear over a 70-mile wide path that will race across the country at a speed of 1,500 mph. It will start in Oregon and take less than 3 hours to reach South Carolina. The longest amount of time the eclipse will be visible is about 2 minutes, so make sure to check out this interactive map, provided by NASA, to find the time of the eclipse in your area!
The eclipse can cause temperatures to drop as much as 25 degrees. Bright stars and planets will become visible. GPS, communication systems, and even power grids can be messed with. Scientists say even some animals may react to the eclipse by behaving in a confused or strange manor.
Humans, on the other hand, are very excited. Those in its path are hosting events, parties, and concerts in honor of this rare event. Some small towns in the total solar eclipse path are expected to have hundreds to thousands of people flooding into them to watch this 2 minute rarity. Even if you’re not able to physically see this total solar eclipse, due to location etc., you will be able to watch it live from space and from the ground on NASA’s website.
I am lucky enough to be in the direct path of the total solar eclipse here in St. Louis, Missouri. The last time we had a total solar eclipse was in 1442 (not a typo). Missouri ranks #1 in the states with 3.4 million of its residents living directly in the path of totality. St. Louis has 1.6 million residents living within the path of totality and is tied with Nashville for the most number of residents living directly within the path.
I will be spending Monday, August 21st in Forest Park eagerly waiting to be in awe. Click here to find events in your area!
I encourage everyone in the States to go outside and witness this event. It is estimated that total solar eclipses recur at any given place only once every 360 to 410 years, so this might be your only chance to see it.
Don’t forget, you should never look directly into the sun, and if so always use protective eyewear. Here are different ways to view the solar eclipse in a safe way.
“The hair on the back of your neck is going to stand up and you are going to feel different things as the eclipse reaches totality. It’s been described as peaceful, spiritual,
exhilarating, shocking. If you’re feeling these things, don’t worry, you’re experiencing the total eclipse of the sun!”
– Brian Carlstrom, Deputy Associate Director of the National Park Service Natural Resource Stewardship and Science Directorate