If you haven’t heard about the upcoming solar eclipse then you may have been living under a rock, stuck in an endless loop of Netflix marathons or getting caught up with GOT. You may even be clueless about why this amazing occurrence is so epic. No problem, I got you covered!
This is not a basic solar eclipse. It is a total solar eclipse. Yes, there is such a thing. I had no idea what that was so I did all the research for us. Let me break it down for you so you can understand why this total solar eclipse is destined to be epic.
This occurrence is special for a few reasons. First and foremost, there are many variables that need to align in order for this phenomenon to occur. If one thing is out of whack then it doesn’t happen. That in itself is pretty major. Second, it will cross the US from coast to coast so many will be able to witness it firsthand. Usually a total solar eclipse is only visible from remote locations or far out in the sea so it can be viewed by many.
On August 21 the moon will completely cover the sun so for a few minutes it will be night. The path of the totality will move from West to East crossing 14 states, from Oregon to South Carolina. Some of us will be able to enjoy this total solar eclipse firsthand because it will be easier for us due to proximity. Those that are not in that path will only be able to experience a partial eclipse. If I wasn’t living in Nashville, I would definitely make a road trip to experience first hand because this is once in lifetime occurrence. This will not happen in the US until April 2024.
The last time something similar happened was almost a century ago, in 1918, when a total solar eclipse trekked across the US from Washington State to Florida. The most recent total solar eclipse that was visible in the continental US was way back in 1979 but it was only enjoyed by those up in the Pacific Northwest.
The path across the US
Check out the path to plan out where you can view in any of these 14 states. If you are stuck at work or anywhere where you can’t enjoy this outside then you have the option to check out the live stream.
Where to view in TN
Tennessee has 18 state parks and they will be hosting a myriad of activities that day as well as the week leading up to the total solar eclipse. Check out the local state park activities.
Where to view in the other states
Curious to see if this cosmic coincidence will be viewable near your home > Check out the other states here by state.
Protect your eyes
Viewing a solar eclipse is no joke and should not be taken lightly.
Not taking the correct measures to view a solar eclipse and can cause permanent damage to your eyes. There are two ways to view this special event, directly with special glasses or indirectly. Bottom line, you can enjoy and be safe at the same time!
- Use special eclipse glasses to ensure safety. Make sure the glasses you have chosen to use are safe. This is not the moment to be careless or thrifty. You can confirm this by checking on 2 important details that must be printed on them the ISO icon details and the certified manufacturers that have been vetted by NASA.
- Meet the ISO 12312-2, this is the international standard
- Look for the 5 manufacturers that have certified their viewers:
- American Paper Optics
- Baader Planetarium (AstroSolar Silver/Gold film only)
- Rainbow Symphony
- Thousand Oaks Optical
- TSE 17
- You can check out the special eclipse glasses or these.
- Another method to view the total solar eclipse is indirectly by way of projection. Learn how to do these simple methods, a pinhole and optical projection, with the American Astronomical Society.
- Looking into the sun directly with inappropriate eye wear can cause permanent damage.
- Regular sunglasses do not count as appropriate eye wear. Get yourself a pair of special eclipse glasses.
- If you already own a pair of eclipse glasses make sure the lenses are not scratched, wrinkled or older than 3 years.
- Homemade filters are not safe.
- No matter how tempting it may be to use an unfiltered camera, telescope, binocular or any other optical device permanent damage is not worth it.
- Don’t stare constantly at the sun, give your eyes a break
When you can actually view it
Now that you have your viewing method set, be it the special eclipse glasses or an indirect method in place, it is important to understand when you can actually check it out for yourself. The times for the total and partial phases of the eclipse will vary by location. Check out the times here to ensure you are being safe.
Keep in mind you can only stare at this phenomenon directly with your naked eyes when it is in the totality phase. This part will not be long, perhaps between 2 to 2 1/2 minutes so make sure you double check timings. The goal is to enjoy the experience and not cause any permanent damage to your eyes 😀
Needless to say, I am ecstatic that I will be able to enjoy such a cosmic treat. Nashville will experience 100% of the total solar eclipse because it is right smack in the middle of the path. Yes, I am geeking out a little bit. There are too many technical details here to fully explain the magnitude of this occurrence but you know this is a once in a lifetime opportunity unless you have found the fountain of youth. If you have, then please share with me cause I would like to know all about it. Would love to know your thoughts and if you are as excited as I am about this.
Mark your calendar because 8/21 will be a special day.
Join me on my journey!
– Featured image courtesy of Matt McLean