America Is Preparing For A Rare Solar Eclipse

United States is getting ready for the first total solar eclipse since 1918, which is going to be visible from the East Coast to the West Coast, a rare astronomical event that will be watched by millions of Americans and which will mobilize a lot of scientists and federal authorities. A total eclipse of the Sun was visible from a narrower perimeter of the American territory in 1979. Monday August 21, the moon will pass between the Sun and Earth and will produce a shadow about 68 miles (110 kilometers) wide, moving from Oregon, mid-morning, to South Carolina, on the other coast of the country in the afternoon, crossing 14 US states in about two hours. The Americans will be in total darkness in the middle of the day for over two minutes and will be able to see stars and planets in the sky, but also the Sun's crown, which is otherwise invisible to the naked eye. 

In the rest of the US a partial solar eclipse will be visible, said astronomer Rick Fienberg, spokesman for the American Astronomical Society (AAS). The United States is the only country where the Sun's eclipse will be full on August 21, which has led scientists to talk about ‘the Great American Eclipse’. Spectators from other parts of the world and scientists will have access to numerous images captured before, during, and after the eclipse by 11 planes, more than 50 stratospheric balloons, satellites and even astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS), each image being captured from different angles. NASA will also use the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), which will be geared towards Terra to track the shadow left by the moon in the earth's crust. NASA's television station will broadcast live images of the eclipse, as well as various activities associated with this event, which will be organized in national parks, libraries, stadiums, museums and festivities. 

It’s the first time a celestial event will be observed by so many people from so many places, from space, from the sky and from the ground. Many researchers will take advantage of this rare opportunity to monitor the Sun and observe the impact of the moon's shadow on the Earth's climate. Astronomers also warn people about the danger to the eyes if the Sun is viewed without special lens glasses during the partial eclipse. Another risk free observation technique is to create an optical device by making a small hole in a piece of cardboard to project the Sun on a sheet of paper.

More than 2 million ‘special eclipse glasses’ will be given for to the United States’s public libraries. Another total solar eclipse will be produced on April 8, 2024 in the United States and will be seen from Texas to Maine. The next total solar eclipse that can be admired from the east coast to the west coast, from California to Florida, will be on August 12, 2045. Every year there are between four and seven eclipses of the Sun and the Moon, of which at least two solar and two lunar. But the total sun eclipses can be observed less frequently than the Moon from a certain place on Earth.

    Deanna Webb

    Deanna works as a copywriter and freelance writer. She lives in Cleveland.