7 Awesome Things You Didn’t Know About The Total Solar Eclipse
On Monday, August 21st, the United States (coast to coast) will be in the path of the total solar eclipse for the first time in nearly 100 years. The event has been described as “breathtaking, otherworldly and a once in a lifetime experience.” Check out these seven fascinating facts about the sun’s big celestial show.
A solar eclipse is different than a lunar eclipse.
During a lunar eclipse, the Earth passes between the sun and the moon casting the Earth’s shadow on a part of the moon. They usually happen two to four times per year and can be seen from any location on the night-side of the moon. A solar eclipse, like the one on Monday, happens when the moon passes between the sun and the Earth. Solar eclipses happen about two to five times per year but are much more rare to see because they can only be viewed along a certain path that the moon follows.
Eye protection is a MUST.
It’s better not to tempt fate with this one. Experts say staring directly at the eclipse without protective eye wear can cause a crescent moon shape to burn into the back of your eye causing blindness. Make sure you pick up NASA-approved glasses for viewing the eclipse and be mindful of your younger children as they watch the awesome display of cosmic perfection.
The coast to coast U.S. path is a rarity.
It’s so rare, in fact, that NASA says the chance of seeing the solar eclipse in it’s totality from your very location only comes around about every 375 years. That’s why the path from the West Coast (Oregon) to the East Coast (South Carolina) is something of an oddity. The last time it occurred was in 1918 when it traced from Washington to Florida. The last time anyone saw a total eclipse at all in America was on February 26, 1979, nearly 40 years ago.
You can see the eclipse by looking down.
Known as Bailey’s Beads, the sunlight breaks through certain parts of the moon and casts beautiful diamond-like spots upon the Earth. They show up in certain areas and not in others. If you’re afraid to look directly at the sun or you forgot your glasses, you can watch for the movement of shadows upon the ground.
Animals and insects will go a little bonkers.
Humans wont be the only ones in awe of the total solar eclipse. Animals will sense that something is just a little off as well. Smart animals, like chimpanzees, whales, dolphins and llamas are among the animals that will stop and watch the eclipse. Dogs may feel the excitement from their owners and get a little restless too. Insects like the orb weaver spider and crickets may get confused and begin to build their webs and sing their songs out of context. Bats also tend to get a little confused and think night has arrived early.
Jets will give us another angle.
Following directly behind the moon’s path will be two jet retrofitted WB-57F jet planes who are equipped with high-powered telescopes that will capture images of the entire eclipse. This unique perspective is predicted to last about seven minutes.
We’re in driving distance of a total “take off your glasses” viewing.
Northwest Cobb and the surrounding counties are so close to the line of totality, the point where the moon completely blocks the sun to the point of complete darkness, that residents are expected to head out of the city in droves. Some schools in the Atlanta area are closed while our own schools have extended school days to ensure kids aren’t let out at the exact time of the eclipse. If your family is planning to head to the line of totality, they will be able to briefly take off their glasses when the sun is completely blocked, a rare and beautiful moment.
Eclipse Photography By: KD Shutterman