Posted on 08/15/2017 at 09:51 AM by Troy Cummings
Excitement is building for next week, Monday, August 21st. Americans will be treated to a spectacle in the sky that hasn’t been seen for almost 100 years. It has been 38 years since the last total solar eclipse could be seen in the United States. It’s been 99 years since a total solar eclipse could be seen from coast to coast in the continental U.S. That is what Americans have to look forward to in just a matter of days. The truth is, eclipses aren’t all that rare. They occur every two years. There will be another total solar eclipse in July 2019, but it will only be visible in parts of Argentina and Chile. They are more frequent than presidential elections, however, most are visible only to relatively few people in remote locations or in the middle of an ocean. That makes the 2017 eclipse extra special.
On Monday morning a solar eclipse will start in Oregon shortly after 11:00 AM, Iowa time, and blaze a path across the U.S. finishing in South Carolina around 3:00, Iowa time. The totality zone, or places where the sun will be totally blocked out by the moon, will be a 70-mile wide path through much of the middle of America. Most of the Midwest will see at least 80 percent coverage of the sun. Eastern Iowa will get to see 92 percent coverage of the sun, with partial coverage getting started around 11:45 AM. Maximum viewing will be around 1:12 PM, but don’t procrastinate. Maximum viewing will only last about 2 and a half minutes.
If you are one of the millions of Americans looking to catch a glimpse of this event, make sure you take precaution. A solar eclipse, viewed without adequate eye protection, is powerful enough to blind you. Viewing the total solar eclipse requires specific eclipse glasses or hand-held solar viewers. Regular sunglasses won't do the job. Look for glasses certified to meet the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard. Experts advise you to inspect your glasses before the eclipse and don’t use them if they are scratched or damaged.
So get ready for the Great American Eclipse, and where ever you may be on Monday. Take some time to get out and enjoy this truly once in a lifetime, All-American event.
Story by Jason Rogers
Image by NASA