The Glasgow Courier - Serving Proudly As The Voice Of Valley County Since 1913

By Alec Carmichael
I Digress 

Seeing August's Eclipse

 

August 9, 2017



For some time now my wife and I have planned to see the solar eclipse on Aug. 21, in Wyoming where the sun will be covered in its totality. My reasoning was that this was an awesome chance for our children to experience something entirely unique and pretty rare. Secretly, though, I was overly excited to experience the natural phenomenon first hand, which I have wanted to see after experiencing a partial solar eclipse at the age of five as a child.

I thought it was a no brainer that everyone would want to see such a thing in its entirety and especially since it is so close to home (some people take cruise ships or fly all over the world to see the same thing), but that was not the case. One individual I talked to asked, “Why would you want to? I mean what is there to see?” My response?

The total solar eclipse is really rare. The last one in North America was 38 years ago; the next one will be in 2024 but will occur mostly in Mexico and Texas. The next one after that will be in 2045. The point is you really won't get another shot to see one so closely. You will see many partial eclipses between those times, but those are not the same thing. Why?

The greatest allure to a total solar eclipse is that the event is not just an object moving in front of the sun. There is an added element to the event. It is is called the corona, or crown, of the sun. When the moon sits precisely in front of the sun, and all of the direct rays and radiation are blocked, a person can look directly at the eclipse with the naked eye, and be able to observe the sun's glowing atmosphere haloing the moon. The rays emanating off the sun resemble the spikes of an old middle ages crown giving the phenomenon its name, and drawing astronomers, hobbyists and the curious alike. Astronomers agree that this is one of the most dramatic celestial events visible with the naked eye. I mean, seriously, you get to see the atmosphere and rays of the sun without going blind. How cool is that?

I am certain not everyone gets as excited as I do about these things, but I am certain that travelling to see the eclipse will not be something we regret any time soon. Then again, we will be in a single car with five kids, so who knows?

 

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