5 Questions About The ‘Great American Eclipse' Answered

“It brings people to tears. It makes people's jaw drop,” said Rick Fienberg, a spokesperson for the American Astronomical Society.

A total solar eclipse will cut through the entire United States on Aug. 21, 2017. Regardless of where you are in the country, you will be able to see the solar eclipse.

The eclipse, which is being dubbed as “The Great American Eclipse,” will darken skies all the way from Oregon to South Carolina. Even people in Hawaii and Alaska will experience a partial eclipse.

The totality is the area where the sun is completely blocked out by the moon, and is 70 miles wide. For the rest of the area beyond this narrow line, 20 to 99 percent of the sun will be covered by the moon.

Outside the path of a total eclipse of the sun, nearby areas will see a partial solar eclipse. However, people who manage to reach the path of totality are surely in for an unforgettable experience.

1.What is a total solar eclipse?

This occurs when the disk of the moon completely covers the disk of the sun. Each year, on average two to five solar eclipses occur, however, total solar eclipses happen just once every 18 months or so.

It is possible to predict where and when the next eclipse is going to be. As calculated, the next one will be on July 2, 2019, stretching from the Southern Pacific before passing across Chile and Argentina.

2. What happens during a total eclipse?

The disk of the moon blocks out the last sliver of light from the sun, and the sun’s outer atmosphere, the corona, becomes visible. For most locations, it’s going to be about an hour and a half from the start of the partial eclipse to totality.

3. What am I going to see?

The very first thing that will be visible is a partial solar eclipse. This is when the moon slowly starts to obscure the sun. “It brings people to tears. It makes people's jaw drop,” said Rick Fienberg, a spokesperson for the American Astronomical Society (AAS).

4. Outside the totality area, what will the rest of the country see?

Even where there is no total eclipse, the country will experience a partial solar eclipse. However, this experience itself is worthwhile. People way north will see 54 percent of the sun covered at the peak of the eclipse.

5. From what locations will the total solar eclipse be visible?

The path of totality will stretch from Oregon to South Carolina and will pass through, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. NASA’s interactive map gives a good idea of the exact places from where it will be visible.

Spotlight, Banner: Reuters, Chaiwat Subprasom

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