The Great American Eclipse Era Is About To Begin

If you want to find out how close you are going to be to the path of totality (or if you're trying to decide where to go on a last-minute summer vacation) this video on YouTube does a great job of showing where the Moon's shadow will fall most directly across North America on August 21. The "Great American Eclipse", as it's colloquially called, will cross from OR to SC in the span of about 90 minutes. The event is free to those who pre-registered.

The umbra (or dark inner shadow) of the moon will be traveling from west to east from nearly 3,000 miles per hour (in western Oregon) to 1,500 miles per hour in SC.

The total solar eclipse is the first we've been able view from coast to coast since 1918, and it begins on the coast of OR at 10:15 a.m. PT on August 21.

The first total eclipse of the sun to be seen in the continental United States in 38 years is almost here. A total solar eclipse's path of totality has touched the United States eight times since 1900, perhaps most notably in 1918. When the period of total eclipse ends for viewers near Charleston, S.C., it will be 2:49 p.m. both there and here in Baltimore.

The preferred glasses that you should wear during the eclipse, what do those have in them to make them protect your eye?

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Eclipse enthusiast Dan McGlaun says the rare event is uniquely American.

What is a solar eclipse?

Where can the solar eclipse be seen?

Communities are planning viewing parties, libraries are hosting events for children, and the national parks are reminding Americans they can provide an ideal setting to view the eclipse. A thin path across the USA will be treated to the first coast-to-coast total eclipse in 99 years. Even directly before and after the sun is completely obscured by the moon, watching the celestial event unfold without proper eye protection could leave permanent scars on your vision. Be sure to join us sometime between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.to learn about the solar eclipse and-most importantly-how to view it safely.

Inspect solar filters before use. "It is not for direct sight and eye damages won't be noticed right away".

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Read and follow all directions that come with your glasses or filters.

Always supervise children using solar filters. This can also occur immediately or it can occur several hours after you viewed the eclipse.

A total solar eclipse is "when the moon totally blocks out the sun" and "when the sun, the moon (and) the earth all line up", said Carina Cheng, a campus graduate student in the astronomy department.

Do I really need to use special glasses, is the sun really going to damage my eyes?

Do not watch the partial eclipse through a camera lens, telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device. "This is a great option for viewing the eclipse together as a family, especially if you have been unable to secure a pair of eclipse glasses", said Karyn Perdue, education program manager for The Lab. "Solarscopes actually allow you to see the sun in greater detail".

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