Every budding and old astronomer worth their salt will have something to look forward to next year! A total solar eclipse will be projected to occur on August 21, 2017. A large astral event isn’t exactly an everyday occurrence! So when one is coming, it’s important to be fully prepared to get the most out of your viewing experience! First things first, though! Let’s get the basics out of the way. Let’s discuss the details that you need to know to answer any questions the uninitiated may ask.
What is a Solar Eclipse?
A solar eclipse happens when our moon traverses between the Earth and the Sun—the moon’s shadow then covers the part of the Earth that’s currently facing the Sun. Most scientists are of the opinion that eclipses should be enjoyed while they still occur as our moon is slowly but consistently moving away from the Earth. This movement has been measured at 4 cm per year.
So it is entirely possible that several hundreds of years from now, our descendants will only enjoy an eclipse from the recordings that we have and currently still make.
The last solar eclipse happened on September 1, 2016 and was an annular one rather than a total eclipse.
What is a Total Solar Eclipse?
A total solar eclipse is one of the four types of eclipses that can occur. A total eclipse is quite the odd event by astral standards. Our sun is measured at around 864,000 miles in diameter which is around 400 times the size of our moon which measures at 2,160 miles. However, our moon just happens to be 400 times closer to Earth than the Sun. As a result, when the orbital planes intersect and the distances align just right, the new moon can appear to completely cover the disk Sun.
It turns out that there are two types of shadows to look out for when a total eclipse happens: umbra and penumbra. Umbra is the shadow where all the sunlight is effectively blotted out. Umbra usually takes the shape of a dark and slender cone. Penumbra, on the other hand, is a lighter and funnel-shaped shadow and the sun is only lightly obscured.
When a total solar eclipse happens, the shadow of the moon where all the sunlight is blocked (otherwise called the Umbra) will be cast upon the Earth’s surface. It may actually sweep a third of the Earth’s surface in a little under three hours.
What most photographers and excited astronomers look out for is that Corona. The corona happens when the moon has completely covered the sun. It offers a glimpse of the outer atmosphere of the sun that’s rife with activity. Total coverage can last as long as 7.5 minutes but can go by in a shorter span of time. It truly depends on certain factors that constantly change so it’s best to be on the lookout for future pertinent news!
Where will the Eclipse Be Best Seen?
Our scientists have determined that on August 2017 will be a total eclipse that will offer all astronomers in the content of North America a great view. The moon’s shadow was projected to cover Oregon to South Carolina—quite a feat! People have started calling this to be the Great American Eclipse.
So with this, it’s time to prep your schedules!