It should have been a national holiday. That was the mood when my wife Sarah and I arrived at the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum a little before 8 a.m. Monday. The museum, known primarily as the home of Howard Hughes' legendary Spruce Goose, is located in McMinnville, Oregon, which to its good fortune is a couple of miles inside the shadow of totality for what's become known as the "Great American Total Eclipse 2017." The town we live in, Dundee, lays about a mile outside that zone, so we decided it would be well worth the effort to get ourselves underneath that shadow. Turns out it would have been worth it even if we'd been forced to trek across a barren desert or frozen tundra via arthritic sled dogs. I'd read in days leading up to the eclipse that totality is 10,000 times more spectacular than just seeing 99 percent, and now I know why. Totality is just that: the total experience. It's the difference between "on" and "off." Viewing the sun's corona with the naked eye is one … [Read more...] about The total solar eclipse: 55 seconds I will never, ever forget
First solar eclipse
A total solar eclipse as photographed in Libya on March 29, 2006. The people behind the Eclipse Soundscapes app are working to make total solar eclipses (the August 2017 eclipse as well as the 2019 and 2024 ones) multisensory experiences. Alan Dyer/Stocktrek Images/Getty Images Watching the moon seemingly devour the sun during a total solar eclipse is certainly an astonishing sight to behold. But how can sight-impaired people experience something that's such a visually dramatic phenomenon? Henry "Trae" Winter, a solar astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is on the case for the Aug. 21 solar eclipse. He and his team are partnering with NASA's Heliophysics Education Consortium to develop Eclipse Soundscapes, a two-pronged project that will make multisensory experiences available to the sight impaired, both during and after the astronomical event. "I really wanted to try to engage with this population that's been traditionally … [Read more...] about An App for Visually Impaired People to Experience the Total Solar Eclipse
Sky-gazers were transfixed in Madras, Oregon, as the sun vanished behind the moon in a rare total eclipse that swept North America from coast to coast for the first time in nearly a century. ROB KERR/AFP/Getty Images It's been 99 years since a total solar eclipse crossed the United States from coast to coast. So it's no surprise that citizens came out in droves on Aug. 21 to watch the moon pass between the sun and Earth, completely blocking out the sun in some locations. Many parts of the country were overrun with people gazing up at the sky to witness what could have been a once-in-a-lifetime astrological event — a total solar eclipse. Those along this 70-mile-wide (112-kilometer-wide) path of totality from Oregon to South Carolina were part of a rare event when the moon blocked out all of the sun's light, temperatures dropped and darkness fell — even if it was just for a few minutes. A child looks toward the sky in awe at the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden … [Read more...] about Spectacular Solar Eclipse Leaves U.S. in Awe
This NASA map shows the path of the Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, solar eclipse. The dark line along the middle is the path of the totality. NASA On Monday, Aug. 21, people throughout North America — and in some parts of South America, Africa and Europe — will have a chance to observe a celestial phenomenon that's fascinated humans for thousands of years. A total solar eclipse, in which the moon moves between Earth and the sun, casting a shadow across our planet and briefly blocking out the sun's light. A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the Earth and the sun. Learn how the moon blocks the sun's light to Earth during an eclipse. From most parts of North America, observers will be able to glimpse a partial eclipse, where the moon only covers a part of the sun. But along the path of totality — a band 70 miles (113 kilometers) wide that will move across the U.S. — people will be able to witness a total solar eclipse, in which the sun is … [Read more...] about Total Solar Eclipse on Aug. 21, 2017: When, Where and How to See It
Two children observe a total solar eclipse from the sunroof of a car on July 22, 2009, in Wenzhou, China. The longest total eclipse of the sun of this century triggered tourist fever across Asia, straining infrastructure. China Photos/Getty Images A lot of North Americans are excited about a chance to see the Aug. 21 solar eclipse. That's especially true of people who live within driving distance of the path of totality, a band 70 miles (113 kilometers) wide that will travel across the United States from Oregon to South Carolina, where viewers will be able to witness a total solar eclipse — in which the sun is completely blocked out by the moon for around two minutes. And about 200 million Americans live within a day's drive of the path of totality. From a traffic standpoint, though, viewing the total eclipse could prove to be a little too popular. Transportation officials in the 13 states where the total eclipse will be visible have been rushing to finish preparations for … [Read more...] about Will the Upcoming Total Solar Eclipse Totally Ruin Traffic?