By some accounts, one of the greatest events of the century will happen on August 21, 2017.
By Angel Wyrwas
By some accounts, one of the greatest events of the century will happen on August 21, 2017. That event is a total solar eclipse. Many people will be traveling, having booked their pricey hotel rooms months before now, to be in the ‘path of totality’. This 70 mile wide path runs from west to east through the United States. But don’t fret if you are unable to make it to the path of totality. People will still be able to experience the eclipse right at home, just a bit less than complete.
So what is the eclipse exactly? Every year or two, the moon’s orbit lines up perfectly and the moon passes directly in front of the sun revealing its faint corona, the halo of plasma that surrounds the sun. That’s when the eclipse occurs somewhere on Earth. We say somewhere because the total eclipse is only visible from inside the path of the moon’s umbral shadow, the shadow in which the moon blocks the entire sun, as it sweeps across our planet.
All total eclipses begin and end with a partial eclipse and the entire event can take nearly three hours. But the total part of a solar eclipse usually only lasts about 2-3 minutes. Daylight is replaced by a mysterious dusk and bright planets and stars become visible.
In Baker the eclipse will begin at approximately 10:27 a.m. Maximum eclipse will occur at 11:46 a.m. and the eclipse ends at 1:09 p.m. This area will only see about 88% eclipse magnitude at maximum eclipse.
People must do a little preparation for the eclipse however. We are talking about looking at the sun to experience the eclipse. Human eyes are easily harmed by looking directly at the sun so it is extremely important to wear appropriate eyewear while viewing the eclipse. Regular sunglasses do not meet the necessary requirements. You’re going to need something more powerful than a pair of polarized sunglasses if you want to safely block out those harmful rays.
Eclipse safe sunglasses block the harmful ultraviolet and infrared rays of light that comes from the sun and must meet the new ISO 12312-2 requirements (filters for direct observation of the sun). These inexpensive glasses may be purchased at your local retailers or online.
Although people have been watching eclipses for thousands of years, they haven’t always understood what was happening. But we won’t have to worry that the world is coming to an end. Get your glasses and on August 21 sit back and look up. You can find more information about the eclipse online at www.weather.gov/source/crh/eclipse.html?sid=byz.