It’s been 38 years since the last total solar eclipse swept across America, and nearly a century since we’ve had a coast to coast event like this.
You’ve probably already marked the upcoming solar eclipse occurring August 21, 2017, on your calendar, and it’s a phenomenon not to be missed. Millions of people will be watching the event, but you can make your own viewing experience truly memorable.
Total Solar Eclipse Syzygy
The perfect alignment of the moon, Earth and Sun will create the total solar eclipse, and this syzygy is a union of three important orbs. The term syzygy can be used to describe the relationship between anything that lines up in conjunction with one another. You’ll find the term in science, math and engineering, but psychologist Carl Jung also used it when describing how opposites join together – like yin and yang.
Syzygy is also a pretty cool word to throw out on a Scrabble board when you’re trying to impress other players with a win.
The path of solar eclipse totality will arc from the west to the east, traveling from the Salem area in Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. Most people in the continental United States are a mere day’s drive at most from the path of totality, if they don’t already live in the swath the eclipse will take.
Even if you’re not in any of the sweet spots in the path of the solar eclipse, you’ll still be able to make the best of this event. Most of the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii will see at least a partial eclipse of the sun, with the shadow of the moon covering 50% of the sun or more. What you’ll actually see may depend on your location and how much cloud cover presents itself between you and the sky. If you’re not in the path of totality, you won’t see the corona of the Sun, but the event will still be worth witnessing.
The process from full sun to darkness and back into full sun, is expected to take around three hours, depending on your viewing location. Pinpoint the exact times here
by clicking on the interactive map and entering the location from which you’ll be observing the solar eclipse. You can also download the free Space.com 2017 Eclipse App
(iOS & Android) from the same site.
From Myth to Merriment: Celebrating the Solar Eclipse
The mere thought of an eclipse fascinates people, and it always has. The Vikings believed that ravenous celestial wolves chased the Sun and moon into their positions to signal Ragnorak, or the end of the world. The Mayans held snakes accountable for the darkness, and the Chinese attribute the darkness of the eclipse to a dragon that gobbles up the Sun. All in all, many cultures have believed that nothing good could possibly come from anything that caused the disappearance of the Sun.
In similar fashion, some people this year are awaiting the appearance of Nibiru, also known as Planet X, which has been prophesied to slam into the earth in September 2017. The solar eclipse is purported to be the harbinger of this doomsday collision.
There are plenty of other special circumstances around this particular eclipse, and some of them center around the number 33. For example, Oregon, the first state where the eclipse will appear in totality, is the 33rd
state in the Union. The eclipse will complete its journey across America in an hour and 33 minutes on the 33rd
parallel, in South Carolina on the 233rd
day of 2017. This event takes place just 33 days before the expected arrival of Nibiru.
The numbers 12, as in twelve states that will see totality, and 70 (the width of the total eclipse), also appear frequently, giving many a reason to mark the auspicious occasion of complete syzygy brought about by the solar eclipse.
If you’re not already planning on attending one of the big solar eclipse events, like the Atlas Obscura
, taking place on a secluded farm in Oregon near the Snake River (it’s sold out), you can still create your own magic for this moment, and here’s how.
Take control of your eclipse experience by driving across the path of totality. The 2500 mile drive from coast to coast would be impossible to make in the short amount of time you have, but NASA’s WS-57F jets
will follow and record the eclipse’s path. Unless you too will be traveling at a high altitude, try driving perpendicular to
the path of totality.
With a little planning, you can spot the specific time and location of the eclipse so that you cross the median at the moment of totality. Just be sure to leave enough time to get out and enjoy the eclipse when it happens. Remember that you can’t wear your eclipse viewing glasses while driving, nor can you wear your sunglasses to view the eclipse.
Profess Your Love
Use the eclipse to make a change in your life. If you’ve been considering proposing to your girl, the eclipse presents one of the best opportunities to mark the occasion.
Just before the total eclipse, radiant beads of light will appear at the edge of the Sun. These piercingly luminescent orbs of light are called Baily’s Beads, and you can mark their appearance with a strand of pearls or a crystal bracelet. When only one bead remains, the eclipse will appear like a ring with a diamond solitaire, and this may be the perfect time to pop the question or reaffirm your commitment to the woman of your dreams with an exquisite diamond ring.
Even a simple date with your girlfriend or wife can be most memorable toast with a glass of Totality organic wine
from Frey vineyards. Although supplies are limited, you can choose between Zinfandel or Chardonnay to accompany your packed picnic lunch while enjoying the phenomenon.
Become a Scientist
Even if you’re not traveling during the eclipse, and a big change isn’t in your future, you can still be a part of something bigger than yourself. By participating in NASA’s Citizen Science program
, you can help collect the data that will help scientists better understand the implications of natural phenomena.
You know better than to watch the eclipse without proper protective eyewear, and you won’t let others hurt their eyes, either. Your Persol or Tom Ford sunglasses aren’t an option for protecting your eyes, so you’ve likely already purchased solar eclipse glasses for yourself and the special person you plan to share the moment of the eclipse with. Maybe you even purchased a couple of extra pairs to share with those who weren’t quick enough in ordering their own protective eyewear.
But what if you didn’t have protective eclipse eyeglasses? Could you still see the eclipse?
The answer is yes, if you make a pinhole camera. The cool thing about this low tech alternative is that it’s a fun science experiment to try with your kids. All you need is some thick paper or cardboard, aluminum foil, bits of tape and a paper clip. The pinhole camera method
is so simple that your kids can make their own viewers to witness the eclipse, and you can take pictures of them having fun.
You can also use your cell phone, as long as you avoid glancing at the actual eclipse. It’s best to photograph the eclipse with a telephoto lens (attachments are available for less than $50). The lens reduces the likelihood of pixelization. For the best results, practice using the camera lens ahead of time so your photos of the solar eclipse show just how intense the sun’s ring around the moon’s shadow is.
When the eclipse on Monday moves across America, you can take the lead in teaching others how to experience the eclipse safely.
Sharing This One Precious Event – Again and Again
Regardless of how you plan to witness the solar eclipse on Monday, the experience is best shared with others. No matter where you are, you can make this event the moment of a lifetime by experiencing it with a child, a partner or friends. Pivotal events like these mark the special moments in our lives.
When light fades to darkness, you’ll still be with the one you love, providing comfort and confidence. That darkness will give way once again to light and the hope it brings as you look ahead to your next adventure.
Miss out on this event, and you’ll have to wait until 2024 for the next one – unless you travel to the South Pacific in 2019, Chile in 2020, Argentina in 2021 or Australia in 2023.
If you plan to remain stateside, you’ll have to wait until 2033, 2044, 2045 and 2052 for the next total eclipses of the sun across the United States.
And you’ll know just how to make viewing them a most memorable moment.