On Monday, August 21st, 2017 the United States will experience a total solar eclipse that will span the entire 48 continental states. The moon will travel in between the sun and the earth. As the moon ‘moves’ across the face of the sun, its shadow passes along an imaginary line on the ground. This line is known as the “Path of Totality.” You will have to be near it to see the eclipse at 100%.
To get the full change of daylight to darkness, you must be within the Path of Totality. People from all over the world are planning to travel to that section of the U.S. Hotels and campgrounds have been fully booked for years. This is truly a major worldwide event. The last time the U.S. experienced a total solar eclipse was in 1979. Only a handful of states saw it in totality. Clouds and the weather are major factors on whether or not the eclipse can be clearly seen from the ground. Thankfully NASA and other scientists are tracking these things and the expected cloud cover for the country can be seen here: http://www.eclipse2017.org/2017/weather/2017_clouds.htm
How Can I View It?
Rochester, Minnesota will fall somewhere within an area that will see the eclipse at about 70-80%. While the sky will not grow completely dark, the amount of sunlight will decrease for a minute or two. The best (and safest) way to see any eclipse – partial or full – is to wear a pair of eclipse viewing glasses. They must be ISO compliant and CE certified to be truly safe for your eyes; standard sunglasses will not protect your eyes from injury. If you’d rather not risk your eyesight at all, a sun funnel or a pin hole projector are great kid-friendly tools to make.
If you’re a Rochester local and would like to get your hands on some free eclipse viewing glasses, the Rochester Public Library is hosting an educational event on August 9th at 1:00pm behind Gage East. You’ll be able to learn about the science behind the solar eclipse and receive your very own viewing glasses.
You can watch are many videos of past eclipse events if you’re stuck indoors on August 21st:
Anatalya, Turkey, 2006: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-gN_8NRLuBA
Svalbard, Norway, 2015: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dRAkhQ6CfmA
Patagonia, South America, 2010: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_hlhrjNyjj8&t=128s