By Mandy Bular

All are waiting to witness the Great American Eclipse in 2017, which will a unique experience to for the people in US to be remembered for a lifetime. Common men have many doubts and questions about solar eclipse, which we try to answer here through simple and easily understandable explanations.

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Q: Why the name ‘Great American Eclipse’?

 

Media largely use the term ‘Great American Eclipse’ to describe the 2017 eclipse as:

 

  • This sight of this eclipse is accessible to millions of Americans as the total path of eclipse bisects the United States from Oregon to South Carolina. About half of the nation can reach to the path of totality in just a day’s drive.

 

  • It is the first time in about 38 years, America witnesses a total solar eclipse. Another unique factor about 2017 eclipse is that it is the first time in about 99 years, the path of an eclipse crosses from Pacific coast to Atlantic coast. It is also a fact to note that it is the very first time an eclipse visits only USA and no other nations.

 

  • Information and discussions about the eclipse tend to spread like fire as it is the first time ever a complete eclipse hits USA in the age of social media. This is one of the biggest stories for the media in year 2017 and no doubt why they call it “Great American Eclipse’

 

Q: Living off the path of totality, do I have to really bother to drive to witness it?

 

No doubt that the great American solar eclipse can be one of the most beautiful sight one can every witness in a lifetime. Not just the mankind, you can witness the entire nature getting astonished by the sudden unexpected darkness at the middle of the day.

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Grand Canyon National Park: Annular Eclipse Viewing 2012
On Sunday, May 20, 2012 during the Annular Eclipse of the Sun NASA scientists, amateur astronomers, and the National Park Service teamed up to share their telescopes and knowledge with park visitors. The eclipse was followed by an evening South Rim Star Party. NPS Photo at Yavapai Point by Erin Whittaker.
At Grand Canyon, observers saw the moon pass fully over the sun, leaving only a ring of sun visible around it. On both rims, at posted locations rangers used pinhole cameras and/or “solar projection” to show additional images of the eclipsed sun.
This was the Timing of the eclipse at Grand Canyon:
o 5:28 p.m. – partial eclipse begins
o 6:34 p.m. – annular eclipse begins
o 6:39 p.m. – annular eclipse ends
o 7:32 p.m. – sun sets while still partially eclipsed

Q: Is it safe to watch eclipse?

 

It is safe for anyone to watch the complete solar eclipse, but by following certain rules.

 

  • Never look directly to it when any part of the sun is visible. There are approved solar filters available to view the partial phases of eclipse.

 

  • If you use binoculars or telescopes, securely attach the filters to the front glass without any gaps, it is advisable to get expert help for this.

 

  • If you are in the path of totality and while the moon fully covers the sun, you get a couple of minutes to view the total solar eclipse.

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Q: What time the eclipse starts?

 

On August 21, 2017, the eclipse’s first landfall will be at Yaquina Head at Oregon coast by 10:15 a.m. PDT. Total eclipse leaves the South Carolina coast, immediately north of Charleston by about 2:47 p.m. EDT.

 

Q: How long it will last?

 

Duration of the partial phase of the solar eclipse may vary from place to place. However, on an average the end-to-end eclipse may last from two to two and half hours. If you view it from the precise path of totality, one can witness about 2 minutes of eclipse in totality, which may gradually increase to maximum 2 minutes 41 seconds at Southern Illinois.

Image credit: google free images for non commercial use

Author: Mandy Bular  bularmandy@gmail.com

 

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