Corona and Light
Something is coming. Something big. Something that revisits a location approximately once every 375 years. Yup, you guessed it – a total eclipse.
No, not that kind.
Yeah, that kind.
While total eclipses happen twice a year somewhere on Earth, on August 21, 2017, a total eclipse will sweep from the Pacific Northwest to the Southeastern part of the United States. (Read our post from last year to learn the difference between lunar, solar, partial, and total eclipses.) To jog your memory, a total eclipse occurs when the moon, at a particular angle, passes in front of the Sun. Ol' moony completely blocks the light from our star and the only part of the Sun that is visible is the corona, or the plasma that surrounds the sun. During a total eclipse, the sky will darken, astronomers will work crazy hard to study the Sun’s atmosphere, other stars will become visible, crickets might start chirping, and local birds will very confused as they head to bed for two minutes or so.
If you’re thinking, “Sick, sounds great can’t wait to see it,” think again. If you want to see the partial or total eclipse, you will need special sunglasses or a viewing device. (No, two pairs of regular sunglasses won’t cut it either. After all, you are looking at THE SUN aka the enemy of eyeballs.) The only time you don’t need the specialty glasses are the minute or two where the moon is completely covering the Sun. And only if you fall on the central line of totality
can be assured that the Sun's corona won't hurt your cornea. All the rest of you unlucky folk will have to buy something like this or wait until the next total eclipse of the sun, sweeping across the country in the opposite direction on April 8, 2024. If that’s too long to wait, there will be one in South America July 2, 2019 and December 14, 2020 and in Antarctica on December 4, 2021. If you stock up on glasses now, you can Forrest Gump most of the way from the US to Antarctica to see all four and get mooned.