On August 21 a solar eclipse will be visible in the United States. The last time this happened was almost 40 years ago, leaving astronomy fanatics in a frenzy of excitement. While many have already made preparations for the event, here are some facts about the upcoming eclipse.
What is a solar eclipse?
According to NASA, a solar eclipse occurs when the moon moves in front of the sun, creating a barrier between earth and the sun. The eclipse this year will last no more than three minutes in its totality. Along with being able to see the sun completely covered, viewers will be exposed to a partial eclipse as well. This will display the moon’s movements as it blocks out the sun.
Where can the solar eclipse be seen?
The total eclipse in America will be visible in 14 different states, according to NASA. Although California is omitted from this list (The last occurrence in California was 128 years ago!), those wanting to experience it can venture up to Oregon. Other states where the complete solar eclipse can be seen are Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska and Montana. The last location to be passed through is South Carolina.
People who reach some of the gatherings will need special glasses to view the solar eclipse. Only when the moon is completely covering the sun can spectators remove their glasses.
Can’t make it to the eclipse?
If unable to make the trek to other neighboring states for the eclipse, areas within the Bay will be hosting parties to celebrate. The Exploratorium in San Francisco will be broadcasting the total solar eclipse live and inviting guests to view the partial eclipse from their plaza.
The California Academy of Sciences will also be holding a similar event. Staff and volunteers will be answering any questions visitors may have about the phenomenon, guiding them to a viewing area.
In San Jose, Happy Hollow Park and Zoo will be handing out special viewing glasses for attendees who stop by. While there, spectators can watch the partial eclipse as well as enjoy the park's usual amenities.
If looking to stay home and throw your own party, NASA will be live streaming the event from locations across the country as well.
Along with the eclipse, another astronomical phenomenon is occurring August 11-13. The Perseid meteor shower will flash around 150 meteors an hour across the continent. Unlike the well-known solar event, the meteor shower will not require spectators to travel far. Rather, to see the show viewers will want to abandon the light polluted cities and take refuge among the trees.
If looking to grab memorabilia of the event, the US Postal Service has released a stamp set of the total solar eclipse. The exclusive sheet holds 16 individual stamps that reveal the moon when a finger is placed on the image of the eclipse, heating up the stamp. The orginial photograph will reappear once the stamp has cooled. The reverse side holds the path of the eclipse across the United States.