Are You Ready for the August 21st Eclipse?
If you haven't heard about the upcoming eclipse, you may have been living under a moon rock. On August 21st, a historic total solar eclipse will sweep across the United States, where it hasn't been visible since 1979. A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the Sun and Earth and temporarily completely blocks the sun's disk. To even view the incredible phenomenon you need to wear specialized, protective glasses. But the sight is, quite literally, out of this world.
Now, with ten days left to go, there is still time to go and see the eclipse. So what can you do to prepare? Well, the visibility path of the eclipse in the US is quite large, being 70 miles wide and 2,800 miles long, stretching all the way from Oregon to South Carolina. But be warned, many of the areas expecting great visibility are already expecting millions of visitors to experience the eclipse.
Whether or not you are able to drive cross-country (if you're in the country to begin with) and manage to find a vacant location and glasses with which to witness the eclipse, there are a number of ways to prepare and participate. Libraries across the US are handing out glasses and running free programs; CNN will host virtual reality coverage of the event; there are even eclipse festivals celebrating the sighting.
According to Fred Espenak, a retired NASA astrophysicist known by many as Mr. Eclipse, "It's absolutely unlike any other experience you've ever had. It's the closest thing to a surreal experience, with the sun vanishing from the midday sky. You're suddenly plunged into an eerie twilight-you can see sunrise colors at the horizon, the black disc of the moon with the sun's corona around it. It looks like a sci-fi movie, and it hits you quickly. Your hair stands on end and you get goosebumps on your arm, along with a feeling in the pit of your stomach telling you that something is dreadfully wrong. It just shouldn't look like this. It never gets old."
However you can manage to watch or experience this total solar eclipse, start preparing now, because it is not to be missed. You can check out NASA's website to learn more!