Everything You Need To Know About The Total Solar Eclipse Happening Today

Everything You Need To Know About The Total Solar Eclipse Happening Today

This is the first one in nearly 40 years!

Published August 21, 2017

Everyone is preparing for 2017 Solar Eclipse, which is scheduled to happen today, August 21st. The total solar eclipse is considered to be a "once in a lifetime" event because it will be visible from the contiguous United States for the first time since 1979.

  1. What is a Total Solar Eclipse?

    The solar eclipse is when the moon passes between the sun and the earth in a perfect alignment. This causes the moon to fully block the sun.

    TOKYO, JAPAN - MAY 21:  Annular Solar Eclipse is observed on May 21, 2012 in Tokyo, Japan. It is the first time in 25 years since last annular solar eclipse was observed in Japan.  (Photo: Masashi Hara/Getty Images)
    (Photo: Masashi Hara/Getty Images)
  2. You must protect your eyes
    LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 20:  Local school kids wear protective glasses to watch a partial solar eclipse from Greenwich park on March 20, 2015. A partial eclipse of varying degrees was visible, depending on weather conditions, across most of Europe, northern Africa, northwest Asia and the Middle East, before finishing its show close to the North Pole.  (Photo by Joseph Okpako/Getty Images)
    (Photo: Joseph Okpako/Getty Images)

    You should never look directly into the sun, so it is important to have the right eye protection. In order to see the eclipse, you will need special-purpose solar filters, also known as "eclipse glasses" so you do not damage your eyes.

    It is important to avoid using sunglasses, smoked glass, exposed film or old solar eclipse glasses because 1 percent of the sun's light can damage your retinas permanently.

  3. What to expect for the 2017 total solar eclipse

    Every state in the United States will be able to see part of the sun disappear. Oregon will be the first to see the eclipse in totality in the U.S. at 10:15 a.m. PST. From there, the solar eclipse will continue east toward South Carolina at 2:49 p.m. EST.

    Overall, 14 states will cross the path of totality experiencing around two and a half minutes of darkness. But Illinois will be the closest to the greatest point of totality with the sun eclipsed for 2 minutes and 42 seconds.

  4. Why are solar eclipses so rare?

    Solar eclipses can be happen up to every 18 months, but you may be wondering why this year's is such a big deal. It is expected to be a total solar eclipse that will be viewable from the U.S., and this is the first time in 99 years for it to be seen from coast to coast!

  5. There are two types of solar eclipses

    The difference between the two types of solar eclipses is depending on the orbit of the moon. The solar eclipse can be annular or total. An annular eclipse is when the moon appears smaller than the sun. It passes centrally across the solar disk, leaving a bright ring of sunlight visible. In the total solar eclipse the moon blocks out the solar disk completely, leaving a fibrous halo.

    (Photos from Left: JAXA/NASA/Hinode via Getty Images, Milos Bicanski/ Getty Images)
    (Photos from Left: JAXA/NASA/Hinode via Getty Images, Milos Bicanski/ Getty Images)

Written by Brianna Allen

(Photo: Arya Manggala/EyeEm via Getty Images)


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