By now, you’ve probably heard someone mention the upcoming solar eclipse. While many of us don't pay much attention to the astronomical developments of our time, this one, my friends, is the eclipse of the century.
If you’re looking for a quick catch-up or a last-minute refresher, here’s everything you need to know.
What in the world is a solar eclipse?
It’s when the moon passes between the sun and earth, thus blocking part or all of the sun for a time.
How rare is this?
We haven’t been able to see one from the States since Feb. 1979. It’s even rarer for one to be visible from coast to coast. The last time that happened was June 1918. So, yeah—it’s a big deal.
How long will it last?
It will take approximately 90 minutes for the eclipse to cross through the country. No one will see the totality of the eclipse for longer than three minutes.
When is this thing going down?
Monday, beginning at approximately 10:15 a.m. on the West Coast, and ending at approximately 2:50 p.m. on the East Coast.
Will it look the same for all states?
Nope. Most states will experience a partial eclipse. Fourteen states will experience a total eclipse, where the entire sun is blocked by the moon for a time. These states are: Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.
How do I know what it will look like and what time it will come through my area?
Use this calculator, fam.
Am I definitely going to see it?
Not necessarily. If it’s rainy or cloudy, you could miss out. Sorry.
Anything I should know from a safety perspective?
Some have cautioned drivers to stay off the roads during the eclipse. At the very least, make sure you have your headlights on and, if you are going to be on the roads, follow this advice to be prepared. Don’t look at the sun during the eclipse, even if the moon is partially blocking it, as this can seriously damage your eyes. If you want to watch it, you need to buy some fancy eclipse sunglasses.
Can I watch it online?
Yes you can, my Millennial friend. NASA will have a livestream and even an eclipse pre-show, which begins at noon EST Monday. Follow the stream here.