August 21, 2017

Why this Solar Eclipse is a bigger deal than you think

03 August 2017, 07:26 | Christie Tate

Join millions across history on Aug. 21

Library to host solar eclipse programs

We can become mesmerized by dark, star-filled nights, by the spectacular colors of sunsets and by the moon's orange glow as it rises over the Gros Ventre Range. And in 1919, British astronomer Sir Arthur Eddington decided that the May 29 eclipse in Brazil provided the ideal conditions to test the theory. On Monday, August 21, all of North America will be treated to an eclipse of the sun. If you want to go big, we are throwing an out-of-this-world stargazing party on the summit of Snow King the night of August 19.

So how rare are these events?

For those not living there or making the trip to the west or south, they can experience the eclipse live online at or Photo by the author. Never look at the Sun during a partial eclipse unless you have adequate eye protection, like the kind shown above and described in this column.

Over the course of an hour and 20 minutes, the moon will cover more and more of the sun, giving the sun a surreal crescent appearance. The column also addressed the importance of using ISO 12312-2 certified solar safe glasses to protect your eyes from permanent blindness while viewing a partially eclipsed Sun. Please do not do this. You can clearly see the temperature drop during totality, then the rise once the sun reappears. This may seem like something trivial, but looking directly at it could actually blind you. You'll be able to see the lovely solar corona and perhaps some reddish solar prominences leaping above the (blocked) solar surface.

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Every Clarke County student will also be provided special eclipse glasses, thanks to a fundraising drive started by two UGA professors. A partial eclipse occurs when only part of the moon passes through Earth's shadow and so only part of the moon appears reddish-brown.

"Dark sunglasses (or multiple pairs of sunglasses), neutral density or polarizing filters (such as those made for camera lenses), smoked glass, exposed film, 'space blankets, ' potato-chip bags, DVDs, and any other materials you may have heard about for solar viewing are not safe", the organization posted.

Crescents can be seen in the shadow of these palm trees at the July 11, 1991 eclipse as seen from Baja California. There certainly wasn't Twitter or Facebook in 1979, but now you can expect numerous posts in your feed from across the country as people share their eclipse experiences.

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