A total solar eclipse will occur over the continental United States for the first time in 99 years. NASA is preparing to transmit this event live from space, air and from the ground. The continental USA covering 14 states will be able to experience total darkness on #August 21St for approximately 2 minutes, and two hours of a partial eclipse. It´s expected that the eclipse will allow some stars and planets to be seen. Most importantly, it will show the #Sun´s corona. People are being warned to use special equipment to watch the eclipse, including specialised solar viewing equipment.

Safety viewing of the eclipse

It´s not possible to look directly at the sun without having negative effects on your vision, therefore it´s recommended the use of special viewing filters.

Advertisements
Advertisements

These can be obtained from specialised stores. Another way to look at the sun without causing damage to the eyes is a pinhole projector, which is just a tiny hole that can be made on a piece of paper through which the light from the sun enters and a projection of it is made on a screen, such as another piece of paper. The pinhole projector can also be made by one´s own hands and fingers.

Heliophysics

The August 21st solar eclipse will be an opportunity for scientist to study the phenomena occurring on the sun, such as the sun´s corona and solar spots. The sun as a source of light affects our environment and that of other planets. At the time of a complete solar eclipse, which is when the sun is totally blocked by the moon, there is a reduction of daylight, it also has an effect on the weather and temperature.

Advertisements

Furthermore, it affects behaviour, especially that of animals. The eclipse will allow scientists to understand the way in which the sun functions and how its changes can influence life on earth.

Eclipse images from space

Eleven spacecraft will take pictures of the blocking of the sun and almost 50 high altitude balloons will also participate in the capturing images of the sun and moon. From the space station, the astronauts on board will be able to take unique images of the eclipse. NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter will be pointed towards the earth so it can track the shadow of the moon during the eclipse.

The time when the entire sunlight is blocked by the moon is the time that the sun´s corona and explosions can be studied in more detail. It´s estimated that approximately 500 million people will be able to observe the eclipse of the sun. 390 million in the USA; 35 million in Canada and 120 million in Mexico, central, south America and northwestern Europe.