On 21st August 2017, for the first time in the last hundred years, the entire contiguous nation of United States will be a witness to a Total Solar Eclipse, the first of many that the country is expected to observe in the 21st century-the next being 7 years later on April 9, 2024!
This phenomenon will be visible across an entire bandwidth along the United States comprising of states like Oregon, Idaho and Wyoming all the way to South Carolina, starting at 9:04 am PDT and stretching till 4:10 pm EDT. More precisely, beginning at Lincoln Beach in Oregon and ending at Charleston, South Carolina.
Solar Eclipse is a phenomenon that obscures the image of the sun, as seen from the earth – when due to rare geographical coincidence, the moon comes in between the planet and the star, thus providing a partially or totally blocked view of the sunlight, effectively putting the area under darkness. However, total solar eclipse can only be visible from a narrow band of land, whereas a partial view can be observed from a wide stretch, which can cover thousands of kilometres around the path of the eclipse on earth. And this is exactly why this total solar eclipse is special – as it is the 22nd of the 77 members of the Saros series 145, which also was responsible for the eclipse in August 11th, 1999.
Get your eclipse glasses out if you already have got them, because anyone in the path of totality can witness this once-in-a-lifetime phenomena, where eclipse-chasers will actually converge on America’s soil, along with those who haven’t yet had the chance to lay their eyes, (ideally protected)– on one of the most wonderful and awe-inducing miracles of the universe.
Major cities on the path of the eclipse, like Nashville, Kansas City, Grand Island, Corvallis et al will already have had set up camps and places to ensure the best viewing possible for the observers – with focus being on their comfort, optimum satisfaction and ensuring their safety.
To get the best view, scout out a location beforehand and ensure that you have absolutely zero obstructions, and options for mobility if, by any chance the clouds restrain your vision in the two minutes or so that the phenomenon is going to last.
During the eclipse, the area under the totality of the moon’s shadow experiences a twilight in the middle of the day, and as its apparent diameter closes in to that of the sun’s blocking its last silver beam, the corona or its outer atmosphere becomes visible – to which, sky watchers ecstatically attest to having seen spirals and jets of lights, that twist and twirl out into the sky.
Those who are planning to sit and observe the phenomenon, should stack up on solar viewing glasses that are recommended by NASA, and also meet the international standard for viewing such celestial occurrence (those with ISO 12312-2) – and these are manufactured by Thousand Oaks Capitals, Rainbow Symphony, American Paper Optics, Lunt Solar Systems and TSE – 17.
Even though most of the viewing areas and parks that are supposed to have the best view are private, there are still a lot of public parks that are open for normal visitors – but even to get in and get a place in any one of them, you have to plan ahead, as they are sure to attract a humongous amount of footfall.
- Blue Ridge Parkway (TN, NC)
- Appalachian Trail (TN, SC, GA)
- John Day Fossil Beds (OR)
- Craters of the Moon (ID)
- Fort Laramie National Historic Site (WY)
- Grand Teton National Park (WY)
- Agate Fossil Beds National Monument (NE)
- Scott’s Bluff NM (NE)
- Harry S Truman National Historic Site (MO)
- Homestead National Monument of America (NE)
- Stones River (TN)
- Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site (MO)
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park (TN)
- Obed WSR (TN)
- Congaree National Park (SC)
- Ninety Six National Historic Site (SC)
- Fort Sumter National Monument (SC)
- Charles Pinckney National Historic Site (SC)
- Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail (Omaha)
- Mammoth Cave National Park (KY)
- Manhattan Project National Historic Park (TN)
- Fort Donelson National Battlefield (TN)
Image Source: M. Druckmüller