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12 August 2017, 06:29 | Ross Houston
Thomas Herring has served as the director of Jack C. Davis Observatory since 2014
The total solar eclipse on August 21, 2017, could be the most watched solar eclipse in history as it crosses the continental United States from coast to coast, according to NASA, and it will provide an unparalleled research opportunity, and a chance for amateurs and professionals to collaborate. Those within the path will be treated one of nature's most awesome events, a total solar eclipse.
"Because we're going around the Earth every 90 minutes, about the time it takes the sun to cross the USA, we'll get to see it three times", Randy Bresnik said Friday during a NASA Facebook session.
Today, we know the moon's precise contours and orbit, and can accurately predict an eclipse's timing and its path down to the scale of a city block.
"Unfortunately, when it comes to safety with a solar eclipse, 99.9 percent coverage means a 0.1 percent area of the sun that is still uncovered and is every bit as risky", Chou said. Mining the data from NASA, here are all the total solar eclipses touching the USA over the next 100 years.
"When you put the glasses on, you can look at the sun, but don't try to walk around", Chou said. The landscape around you will be changing as the sun passes behind the moon, which will create cool shadows and a great opportunity for awesome pictures or a time-lapse video. "It's the first time we'll have such a wealth of information to study the effects of this eclipse; we'll be drowning in data", Earle said.
Arizona hasn't experienced a total solar eclipse since June 16, 1806, and won't see another one until July 17, 2205, a period of 399 years. The eclipse will peak, with the maximum surface of the sun covered, around 2:33 p.m., and that will last about two minutes and 31 seconds.
"This is historical, and I would encourage everyone to see it", said Nathan Podoll, M.D., assistant professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC).
And guess what: You can't hold binoculars or other magnifying devices over your eclipse glasses, either.
You can find the glasses at online vendors including EclipseGlasses.com, Celestron, Explore Scientific and Meade Instruments. This only happens about every 6 months, such as August 2017 when the moon is on the line of nodes.
My reason for traveling to see the total eclipse may be different from yours.
They'll be participating in the "Our Reservation: Our Eclipse" competition, a collaboration between the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs and the Washington NASA Space Grant Consortium, which is using NASA grant money to bring in about 100 kids from Oregon, Washington, Idaho and northern California. You can also make sort of a homemade projector and in fact I'm doing that with my students.
Even if it doesn't inspire the next Einstein, this year's eclipse might give rise to a more passionate, more diverse generation of scientists, one that has a deeply personal connection to the motions of the universe.
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