1st Total Solar Eclipse in 38 Years…
…for those in contiguous United States (excluding Alaska and Hawaii). The last time anyone in mainland US saw a total eclipse of the Sun was on February 26, 1979. If you live in the US and miss this event, you’ll have to wait 7 more years, until April 8, 2024, to see a total solar eclipse from a location in the contiguous United States.

Most North Americans Will Be Able To See Totality…
…if they are willing to drive that is. The total eclipse will only be visible along the Moon’s central shadow, which at its widest will be about 115 kilometers (71.5 miles), according to some sources. Its path will span from the country’s West Coast to the East Coast. The rest of North America, as well as Central America and northern parts of South America, will experience a partial solar eclipse. NASA has estimated that a majority of the American population lives less than a 2-day drive away from the path of totality.

Parts of 14 American States Will Go Dark…
…for the 2 minutes of totality. The Yaquina Head Lighthouse in Newport, Oregon will be the first location on continental US soil to see totality. The partial phase of the eclipse will begin here at 9:04 am local time. Lincoln City, Oregon will also be one of the first locations in the country to experience totality.
Oregonians will also be the first to see totality as the Moon’s shadow moves east at an average speed of about 3600 km/h (2237 mph). After Oregon, the eclipse will move through Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, and South Carolina. Montana and Iowa are the only states where the path of totality will pass through unpopulated areas. People in Charleston, South Carolina will be some of the last people in the US to see totality.

Totality Will Be Spectacular
Totality in a solar eclipse begins and ends with a diamond ring.
The diamond ring and prominences visible at totality.
©iStockphoto.com/silkenphotography
If you are lucky enough to be in the path of totality, you are in for an astronomical treat, weather permitting, of course. When the eclipse begins, at 1st contact, it will appear as if the Moon is taking a bite out of the Sun. As the eclipse progresses, the sky will get darker, the temperature will drop, and if you pay attention, animals and birds will become quieter.
At 2nd contact, which is when totality begins, Baily’s Beads become visible. As the Moon completely covers the Sun’s surface, the diamond ring can be seen. You might also see pink spots called prominences near the diamond. These spots are caused by gases on the Sun’s surface.
Totality is the only time when one can see the corona, the Sun’s atmosphere. At 3rd contact, Baily’s Beads will once again become visible and a second diamond ring may appear.

You Will Need Eye Protection
Do not look directly at the Sun, before, during or after the eclipse without any protective eyewear.
Looking at the Sun with your naked eyes is highly dangerous and can even cause blindness. The safest way to see a solar eclipse is to wear protective eclipse glasses or use a pinhole projector you can easily make yourself.

 

<strong>SOURCE – <a href=”https://www.nasa.gov”>NASA</a></strong>