BLACK OUT! CHECK YOUR LOCAL LIBRARIES!
In exactly seven days, you will have a front row seat to witness a rare total solar eclipse. What makes this event so special is that it will be the first time in nearly 100 years a total solar eclipse was visible from coast to coast (June 8, 1918).
First up to see the eclipse will be the Oregonians. Actually the Yaquina Head Lighthouse in Newport gets the claim to fame for being the exact location to witness the solar totality on U.S. soil.
The Moon's shadow will then rocket east moving at a speed of 2237 miles per hour. Which is a perky pace given that the speed of sound travels 742.5 miles per hour. But a snail's pace compared to the speed of light which wows at 671 million miles per hour.
But I digress.
Back to the travel plan.
After Oregon the eclipse continues through Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, and South Carolina. Montana and Iowa are the only states where the path of totality will pass through unpopulated areas. People in Charleston, South Carolina will be some of the last people in the US to see totality
Below you can see the path of totality across the United States.
The eclipse will last the longest near Carbondale, Illinois clocking in at two minutes and 44 seconds.
In Cedar Rapids the eclipse will not be a total eclipse but come very, very close to one. That will occur at precisely 1:12 p.m. on August 21st. In Davenport, the event happens at 1:14 p.m.
Here's something to look for when the eclipse is at its highest point. Check it out. What does the below photo look like to you? Possibly those couples who are newly engaged might blurt out the answer fairly quickly.
Did I hear Joy say diamond ring?
Yes! This phenomenon is called the DIAMOND RING!
As the moon "grazes" by the Sun during a solar eclipse, the rugged lunar limb topography allows beads of sunlight to shine through in some places, and not in others. The diamond ring effect is seen when only one bead is left; a shining diamond set in a bright ring around the lunar silhouette.
Pretty cool and romantic!
You will also see during the eclipse planets and stars usually hidden by the Sun's bright light. The experts say to look for Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, and Venus.
Now don't look at the eclipse without special glasses; if you do, you risk a condition called solar retinopathy. Here's the catch....the damage is painless so often times people don't even realize their harming their eyes!
Head to your local library for help! Many are handing out FREE solar viewing glasses. According to the Marion, Iowa library, the glasses will be available beginningtoday August 14th.
These glasses are coated with a black polymer material that filters out 100% of harmful ultraviolet rays, 100% of harmful infrared, AND 99.999% of intense visible light.
Now a word of caution. There have been a few reports of counterfeit eclipse glasses...so make sure wherever you are getting them, they are safe to use. I googled and found this bit of advice to test to see if your glasses are safe. Check to be sure you bought your glasses from one of the manufacturers or vendors that have been approved by the American Astronomical Society.
That should keep your baby blues, greens, browns...okay you get the idea...safe!
So...sit back and enjoy. The next total eclipse of the sun won't occur again until 2024 in North America.