Mariana Lazarova, an assistant professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, appreciates the opportunities that come with a solar eclipse. (Find out the exact eclipse time for your area here, and we have separate audio stories above and below for those in the path of the total or partial eclipse, respectively.) Also, we want your eclipse plans, stories and photos.
As you know, the solar eclipse is scheduled to cross the lower 48 on Monday, August 21. The sun and the moon appear to be the same size, but the sun is 400 times larger and 400 times further from Earth. For those who want to make sure that they witness the solar eclipse in its totality, the path of the 2017 total solar eclipse will meander through 12 states along a 2,500-mile stretch of land from OR to SC.
According to Dr. Sweeting, the eclipse will begin at 1:05 p.m., while maximum coverage will occur at 2:36 p.m., and the event will end at 4:01 p.m. The last coast-to-coast eclipse was in 1918, and after this one, the next won't come until 2045.
But every so often, there's a narrow window when the Earth, sun and moon align.
This will be the first total solar eclipse to sashay clear across the continental U.S. in 99 years and excitement has been building among astronomers, scientist, citizen scientists, budding scientists and anyone who wants to witness a truly stellar event. They can be tested before the eclipse by seeing if they project a nice even round image of the normal Sun.
With all the excitement about the Great American total solar eclipse expected to happen in just a few short weeks, it is important to remember that even our pets are going to experience the rare celestial event as well. "I have never been more proud to be a Yellow Jacket".
If you're lucky enough to be in the path of totality, you may notice a change in the sky's hue as the shadow moves closer to you, Young says. A total eclipse will occur on August 21.
The sun's glare makes the moon impossible to see from Earth until it crosses the disk of the sun and we see the light from the sun growing darker. However, at totality, when the moon completely blocks the sun, make sure to remove the filter so you can see the sun's outer atmosphere - the corona. "This is actually the region of the sun where solar activity comes from, where space weather comes from, which is something that I study very closely".
This article is based on an interview that aired on PRI's Science Friday with Ira Flatow.