Is There An Eclipse Or Something Going On This Week?

August 20, 2017

I wish I had a quarter for every time I have been reminded that a solar eclipse is going to occur Monday.  I like being reminded about something multiple times a day starting 10 days to 2 weeks beforehand, with increasing frequency as the date approaches.  I think the hype surrounding tomorrow's celestial event has actually eclipsed (sorry) winter storm hype.  I mean yes, it's pretty cool and all, but from our vantage point here in Connecticut, it's not going to be THAT big of a deal.  In fact if you didn't KNOW an eclipse was going to occur tomorrow (roughly 1:25 PM-3:59 PM, maximum effect at 2:45 PM), you might not even realize that it was happening.  If you're somewhat sensitive to changes outdoors you might detect it getting a little less bright out but in Connecticut the Moon will only cover about 67%-69% of the sun at the peak of the eclipse, depending on where you are.  During the 1994 eclipse the Moon covered 86% of the sun so that one was actually better than this one will be in Connecticut.  And as you already know from all the reminding, the next total solar eclipse in the U.S happens less than 7 years from now and the path of totality will be as close as northwestern New York and northern New England.  So, although we haven't had any solar eclipses here since the one in 1994, this one won't be as good as that one and another total eclipse will be within driving distance during the next one on April 8, 2024.  (There will also be a partial in October 2023). The wild card with the 2024 event is the weather.  Upstate New York and New England can be pretty cloudy in early April.

 

 

Also, I'm not sure when these "eclipse glasses" were invented because this is the first year I have become aware of them.   Although they say you can look through the legitimate, genuine, NASA-approved glasses for up to 3 minutes at a time, I wouldn't look at the sun for more than a few seconds at a time with them.  As Jerry Seinfeld once noted "it's too risky!".  I imagine lots of people will try to take pictures of it with their camera phones but I wouldn't recommend it.  It could ruin your camera (no guarantee, but it's possible) and unless you have a wicked zoom, celestial objects always come out tiny in pictures.  From what I understand, it's possible to put the NASA-approved eclipse glasses in front of the camera lens and do it that way, but I think I'd just leave the solar photography to the experts and enjoy their work. Watch it live on Youtube or the NASA channel, use a pinhole projector or take a few peeks with the official NASA-approved glasses (are you sure yours aren't counterfeit)? But what ever you do don't look at the sun and risk retinal burn.  You'll have a black dot in the center of your vision for the rest of your life.

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