The total solar eclipse will be upon us soon! Eclipse chasers have waited 99 years, and are on their way to the best viewing locations,. While the merely curious are hoping the day is clear enough for them to get a look (not directly, of course).
If you’re intrigued by this rare event, here are seven things to know about the eclipse.
- About not looking directly at it: this is meant for people without appropriate eyewear. There are safety glasses that can be used to watch the eclipse without harm. NASA also says it’s safe to watch with the naked eye, but only when the sun is completely obscured by the moon. Which brings us to…
- The time during which the sun is fully obscured (“totality”) is pretty long: two minutes and forty seconds. In order to see it, you have to be standing somewhere along the path of totality, which is relatively thin. Thus the vast majority of people will not see the totality state, which means either have some safety glasses or don’t look!
- Although the total solar eclipse lasts less than three minutes, utilities that make use of solar power need to make workaround plans for the reduction in energy collection that will be caused by the event. This is because a partial darkening effect will last for hours.
- The closer you are to the path of totality, the more it will seem like the world has been shrouded in night for the duration of the eclipse. Logical, but easy to forget until you wonder why it just got so dark with no clouds in the sky.
- Likewise, the temperature is going to drop during the eclipse as well, more so closer to the path of totality.
- Stars and planets will be visible during the day. You can see most of them at night, so it’s more of a curiosity than anything, but it’s easier to find Mercury during an eclipse than any other time because it’s so close to the sun.
- It’s unlikely you need to go so far as to buy protective glasses for your pets in case they watch the eclipse through the window, but their eyes are as liable to damage as a human’s. Keep them indoors if possible.