|Above, a partial solar eclipse projected onto a wall through foliage. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
by Armand Vaquer
For most of us, experiencing a total solar eclipse will be a first time experience. Many wonder what to expect during the event and what to do when it happens on August 21.
I will be viewing the total eclipse in Idaho.
They wrote (in part):
Throughout a total solar eclipse and depending upon your location and good fortune with the weather gods, our sun will be partly or completely blocked out by the moon passing directly in front of it. The moon’s close proximity to Earth allows it to appear to cover (eclipse) the solar disk, even though it is hundreds of times smaller than our sun. As the moon's shadow travels across the earth at more than 1,000 miles an hour (because of the moon's orbital motion minus the Earth’s eastward), the viewer will witness the gentle lunar dance lasting about two hours from start to finish.
The sky will slowly darken; temperatures will drop as the air under the shadow cools, causing winds to dissipate and transforming the landscape with an eerie stillness. One should not expect the sky to appear uniformly dark.The area closest to the sun will be darkened and, as we gaze toward the earth’s horizon, it will appear lighter. The highlight, (total coverage of the sun) will only last a little more than two minutes. During these tantalizing few moments, the jet-black disk of the moon is directly over the sun. A breathtaking sunlight halo called the corona (Latin for crown) surrounds the disc. Then, as the dance progresses, light streaks through the valleys of the lunar mountains in a brief sparkling phenomenon known as “Baily’s Beads.”
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