In case you haven’t heard, on August 21st there will be a total solar eclipse that will march it’s way across the United States from Oregon to South Carolina. It will be the first time that has happened in 99 years. Pretty cool huh? What is an eclipse you ask? I’ll spare you all the nerdy talk about nodes, umbras, and penumbras; mostly because I don’t understand what they are, and give you the basics. A solar eclipse is where the moon’s shadow falls on the Earth, and a lunar eclipse is where the earth’s shadow falls on the moon. We’re talking about the upcoming solar eclipse.
This solar eclipse can be seen, at least partially, by everyone in North America. If you’re lucky enough to live here in Oregon there are many viewing options. Oregon Live has a great article 17 places to watch the 2017 solar eclipse around Oregon on the best places to view the eclipse. I’m going to view it in Portland(my wife has to work), where I’ll see 99.1% of the eclipse. If you live in the path of the totality, or you plan on traveling there, you’re in for a once in a lifetime spectacle.
Let me be clear, you will need special eclipse sunglasses Celestron Eclipse Solar Shades that stop 99.99 percent of the suns rays. Without these you can cause serious permanent damage to your eyes. The eclipse will start around 9:00 a.m. P.D.T., reaching totality around 10:15 am P.D.T. and leaving Oregon around 10:27 am, going on it’s way across the continent and ending it’s journey at the coast of South Carolina around 2:45 pm E.D.T. The path is approximately 70 miles wide and will be traveling 3,400 mph and slowing down to about 2,900 mph because by then it will be traveling higher in the sky. If you are in the totality, with the special eclipse glasses, you will see the shadow of the moon moving across the sun. This is what they call the “diamond ring effect.”
After the “diamond ring effect” you are almost in totality. Then the phenomenon called the “Bailey’s Beads effect” will appear. Bits of light creeping through the various valleys, mountains and craters on the surface of the moon.
Then comes the totality. It only lasts around two minutes. Now you can take off your protective eyewear. The moon will completely cover the sun. Next you will see the corona, or the sun’s atmosphere. In that moment the birds will stop chirping and there will be a slight dip in the temperature. This is what you’ve been waiting for, the whole enchilada.
Will seeing the totality change your life? Some people say it produces such a profound sense of awe that it changes your perspective on life forever. I for one am not hoping for an existential epiphany, after all I’m only going to see 99.1% of the eclipse. Maybe next time. However, this is the first legitimate excuse to have a beer in the morning in my life, and I’m going to take full advantage. I’m not saying I haven’t had a few pops in the morning, quite the contrary. In my college days when we had a 11:30 a.m. football game, my friends and I would throw back a few before we headed to the stadium. Go Cougs. The solar eclipse excuse is the ultimate.
So come on down to USOUTDOOR and get your eclipse sunglasses. It could change your life. Cheers.
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