The total solar eclipse is almost here! I’ve rounded up 5 fun facts you should know before August 21st arrives.
1. Is this really that rare? At least 2 and possibly up to 5, 6, or 7 solar eclipses occur every year. A total solar eclipse happens about every 18 months on average. But they are often hidden spectacles out over the big vast oceans. At any one location, the occurrence of a total solar eclipse is rare. For example, Nashville (where I will be for the August 21 totality) hasn’t had a total solar eclipse in more than 500 years.
2. This is not the first total solar eclipse in the US in almost a 100 years. But it is the first from SEA TO SHINING SEA total eclipse in 99 years (last coast to coast total solar eclipse was in 1918). This will be the most observed, filmed, documented, and perhaps appreciated eclipse yet. Enjoy the eclipse with all of your senses, and set up your camera pointed at your thermometer to get a timelapse of a possibly 10-15° temperature drop!
3. A partial eclipse of some magnitude will be available to all of North America. This is quite a unique sky-viewing opportunity (of course with your solar eclipses glasses on!) The big show is totality. 200 million people in the US are within a 1-day drive of totality. You might be thinking, “Is there that big of a difference between totality and partial?” Yes! It’s like night and day. Literally. Stars and planets will be out for 2+ min of night during the day.
4. It’s impossible to chase the eclipse. It will be traveling at a speed of more than 1500 mph! Unless you fly a fighter jet for the US Air Force. Even then… you’d have to gun it. Totality will cross the country in 1 hour 33 minutes.
5. There will be so much to see! Crescent shape shadows may form as light filters through the trees and the leaves act as pinhole projectors. In totality, the last glimpse of light from the sun will form a diamond ring in sky. Look for Bailey’s Beads as last light pokes through canyons and craters on the moons surface. If you are in path of totality, glasses can come off to view totality! You’ll be able to see wispy coronal streamers and prominences. On land, you’ll notice animals may start acting odd, since they’ll think nighttime has arrived. As totality ends, Bailey’s Beads and the diamond ring appear again, and it’s glasses back on as the event ends in partial eclipse.