Monday's Solar Eclipse Is The Talk Of The Town

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A total eclipse of the sun, observed by the Harvard College Observatory in 1970.

According to a report published today in "The Telegraph", everyone in North America, parts of South America, Africa and Europe - including the United Kingdom - will see at least a partial solar eclipse, where the moon covers only a part of the sun.

A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth, totally or partially obscuring the image of the sun from viewing from Earth.

A total solar eclipse will cross a large section of the United States later today, with best views in 14 states. An event on February 26th, 1979 covered Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and North Dakota, but it was a pretty cloudy day.

But we will only be able to see a partial solar eclipse here. NASA have stated that next total eclipse to be visible in the U.S. will take place on April 8, 2024, so hopefully the world will be in better shape by then.

"Going through life without ever experiencing totality is like going through life without ever falling in love", Rick Fienberg, spokesman for the American Astronomical Society, said of the event. There are a few reasons.

Credits courtesy NASA
Credits courtesy NASA

The path is relatively thin, around 70 miles wide, and stretches from Salem, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina.

Totality is expected to last the longest near Hopkinsville, Kentucky, wherein it will last for a good 2 minutes and 40 seconds. This path, where the moon will completely cover the sun and its tenuous atmosphere - the corona.

Staring at the sun isn't the only thing that could harm you during the solar eclipse.

The outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas said that there will be about 87 million employees under the path of the sun and moon dance. Day will instantly become night, as if a curtain has dropped over the Earth. The high temperature will be 91 degrees with the warmest times being in the afternoon. Animals and insects will act as though night has come. This one just happens to be right in our backyard.

You never want to look directly at the sun without appropriate protection except during totality. There's plenty of time to plan for the next US eclipse on April 8, 2024.

Then after that, you'll have to wait until December 4, 2021.

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