What you need to know about this month's total solar eclipse

What you need to know about this month's total solar eclipse
What you need to know about this month's total solar eclipse

13 August, 2017

Solar eclipses happen when our view of the sun is blocked by the moon. Clear skies allowing, of course.

Observers in the moon's umbral shadow will have the same events unfold as with the partial eclipse but much more noticeably.

It's these few minutes that are so precious - and what 10 million-plus people are traveling from all over the world to see.

Partial eclipses are bit more common, and if you are up for travelling, you can even turn it into a total eclipse experience. Eclipse cartographers have been hard at work, too: Xavier Jubier's Google Map and Michael Zeiler of GreatAmericanEclipse.com's handy web app are also worth investigating.

To get the exact times for your chosen location, visit TimeandDate.com/eclipse - and be prepared for exactly what you'll witness during this historic event. Most people across the USA, northern Mexico and Southern Canada will see a partial solar eclipse from a meager 30 percent in La Paz, Mexico, to 99 percent near the path of maximum lunar shadow, or the path of totality.

At least some of the eclipse glasses sold on the e-commerce site are scheduled to arrive after August 21, the day of the solar eclipse. In central Oklahoma, there will be about a 90 percent eclipsing of the sun, with maximum eclipse at 1:05 p.m. The result? An eerie, silvery atmosphere.

"The little shafts of light will form a whole series of crescent shapes on the ground", Zeiler said.

Even if you are one of those folks who doesn't give a darn about an eclipse, when everyone runs outside to marvel in the mystery, there is a chance you will want to as well. Note that they aren't 100% sure that these glasses or unsafe, they just had not received information from the vendor quoting an officially certified manufacturer, but why take the chance?

Just seconds before the sun gets nearly completely covered by the moon, beads of the only remaining visible sunlight will be filtered through the mountains and valleys of the moon. During a partial solar eclipse, the sun is not almost as bright, so the temptation is to stare at the sun for too long a time. The moon will then begin to move away from the sun and the show will be over at 4:03. That signals the start of Second Contact.

You can bet Michael Zeiler will be front and center to catch a glimpse of August 21's total solar eclipse. In a flash after Bailey's Beads, the light is gone and the ghostly solar crown or corona appears with small bright reddish tongues of fire called prominences. Some have likened it to a white flower, or cotton candy smeared around the moon. Otherwise, while everyone is oohing and aahing, you'll be left not being able to look up, grumbling about how you don't care or you are above such nonsense. "That doesn't sound like a lot, but when you look in the sky, the apparent size of the moon is about a half a degree".

The moon will block the sun's rays for a short time. For the rest of their lives they'll say they saw it. The device will have a webcam and a solar filter fitted to it, which will enable streaming directly on the official YouTube channel of Space India and will also be available on the organisation's website. Do not remove them while looking at the sun.

More news