Astronomers like Dr. Jeffrey Bennett are very excited about the upcoming solar eclipse. A solar eclipse is when the moon passes in front of the sun, gradually hiding the sun until it is no longer visible. During this time, the day will turn into night. You won´t see the sun, except for its outer corona.
How is this possible if the moon is 400 times smaller than the sun? Because the moon is also 400 times closer to the earth than the sun is to the earth. Scientists can predict eclipses because they know the moon’s orbit and can find out when it’s shadow falls over the earth. The next eclipse will be happening on Monday August 21st, 2017. Eclipses happen every year and a half but they can’t be seen from just anywhere. The path of totality, which is the path of a total solar eclipse, changes every time. This time, it will pass mostly over North America. A partial eclipse is when part of the sun is hidden and a total eclipse is when the whole sun is out of view. The path of totality is where you can see a total eclipse and the farther you get from the path, the less the sun will be hidden.
One way to view the eclipse without hurting your eyes is by projecting the sun onto the ground. To do this, pop a hole in a piece of paper letting the sun project through for you to see on the ground.
Another way is to buy eclipse glasses online for cheap. The frame of the eclipse glasses is made out of cardboard. The lenses are made out of a special kind of aluminum. Warning: do not make the eclipse glasses at home. The lenses are not made from the same aluminum foil that you find in your kitchen. They are made from a special type of aluminum grade and if you mess up you will hurt your eyes very badly!
To find out where you can view the eclipse, check out Dr. Bennett´s free app called Totality. There, you can enter your location and see where the nearest total eclipse will happen and the percentage of the sun that will be hidden at any place. You’ll find out at what time the eclipse will happen and how long it will last. You can also get eclipse glasses on this app and learn about future eclipses until the year 2030. Dr. Bennett explained that the 2040 eclipse will pass through Boulder Colorado.
What is interesting is that Boulder Valley School District (BVSD) gives an excused absence to kids who are going to see the eclipse. Dr. Bennett will be going to Idaho Falls to speak at events and watch the eclipse.
Since BVSD gives you an excused absence for watching the solar eclipse, I hope that you can go watch the solar eclipse while it is in North America.