by Terry Godier, Negosentro.com |
Each new day brings America closer to the eclipse as several people make plans to head to what is known as the totality zone. The total solar eclipse is slated as one of the major historical and scientific events that are yet to happen.
Learning about the event and what it entails is a good way to prepare for the experience. There is no doubt that this is an incident that you will always remember as one of the greatest things you have ever seen. The last total solar eclipse occurred in the United States 38 years ago. Few people were able to see it because it only touched five Northwest states with unfavorable weather conditions.
- Solar eclipses refer to how the Sun, Moon and Earth line up. The direct placement of the Moon between the Sun and Earth causes the casting of a shadow on Earth. You view a total eclipse when you are in the umbra or dark area of the shadow. A partial eclipse is observed by people in the penumbra or light part.
- In order for this type of eclipse to happen, the Moon must be between Sun and Earth. New Moon is the sole lunar phase during which this occurrence takes place.
- New Moon does not automatically mean that a solar eclipse will happen because the orbit of the Moon tilts 5 degrees to the orbit of the Earth in the region of the Sun. When the Sun is below or above these intersections during lunar months, no eclipse will occur.
- The reason for different lengths or phases of eclipse totalities is that Earth’s distance from the Sun and Moon’s distance from Earth vary.
Partial and Total Eclipses
Everyone in the United States will be able to observe a partial eclipse, aside from those in the totality zone. The moon covers a significant percentage of the Sun if you have clear weather on the day of the eclipse.
Totality is the main focus and with a partial eclipse, you will hardly notice that your surroundings are darkening. Regardless of how extensive the coverage of the partial eclipse is at your location, only a total eclipse can truly showcase the dramatic effects that range from extraordinary colors to daytime stars.
Totality- First and Last Contact
If your goal is to be among the first people who witness the totality in America, the initial contact will be in Oregon where the phase will last for almost two minutes. The maximum period for totality is just under three minutes and the United States eclipse will not end on land. Last contact will be made with the edge of the Atlantic Ocean.
The August 2017 eclipse is likely to be one of the most viewed because of ongoing media attention, good weather and its accessibility for large numbers of people in nearby locations. You can safely look at totality when the disk of the Moon covers the disk of the Sun. This is the only brief period during which you can safely observe the eclipse and experience its brilliance.
Terry Godier is a freelance writer and research consultant. He has previously worked as a journalist for more than 10 years with a number of media organizations. During his free time he likes to catch up with family and friends. Visit the site for more about the solar eclipse.
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