America is set to witness a celestial treat as a full solar eclipse is set to occur on Aug. 21 this year. The range of the eclipse will stretch from Oregon to South Carolina.
Other U.S. states will witness a partial eclipse. On the day, the aforementioned regions will feel as if all the lights have been blotted out, as the sun will completely disappear in the middle of the day.
What Is A Solar Eclipse?
A solar eclipse is a phenomenon where the moon passes between the Earth and the sun and blocks the latter's view from the planet. Due to this, the sun's disc is completely covered by the moon.
This in itself is not a very rare phenomenon, but the full eclipse is only within a 60- to 100-mile radius. As the Earth is mainly covered by oceans, the eclipse almost always occurs over the same.
What Is This Eclipse's Significance?
As reported by The Washington Post, the eclipse has been given the moniker "Great American Eclipse" and rightly so. The last total solar eclipse was witnessed in the United States way back in 1918. Americans will mark this date because of its significance.
The sun will be blocked for approximately an hour and a half by the moon. People are already beginning a countdown to the eclipse and have reserved hotel rooms in line with the event.
A prime spot to view the eclipse will be Carbondale, in Illinois. It is a five-hour drive from Chicago, and the Southern Illinois University is gearing up for a huge eclipse weekend. It is expecting a multi-thousand gathering.
How Is America Greeting This Phenomenon?
The Adler Planetarium has come up with an exhibit called "Chasing Eclipses." This exhibit will be open for the public sometime next week and delves into the history of solar eclipses, as well as upcoming celestial events. Visitors can stand in the shadow of the moon, study artifacts used by scientists of yore and build tools for viewing eclipses themselves.
NASA will be live-broadcasting the event, and researchers speculate that this may be the most celebrated eclipse ever, garnering the highest number of views.
The next solar eclipse is set to occur in 2024, but Chicago will again witness an eclipse in such close proximity in 2099.
Precautions To Be Taken
The total eclipse will be seen from Glendo, Wyoming, at 11:45 a.m. MT and the totality ends after just 2 minutes and 28 seconds.
One should keep in mind never to look at the eclipse directly. Always use eye protection as the ultraviolet radiation from the sun can cause permanent optical damage and blindness. Remember to wear eclipse glasses or use a pinhole projector to view the eclipse.
Photo: Takeshi Kubok | Flickr