Excited about the upcoming eclipse? We are! On August 21st, the Moon will cover the Sun (from BHI’s perspective) and the Sun will seem to go dark. According to NASA, the Moon should take about an hour and a half to cut across the Sun before completely covering up the solar disc for a few minutes; it will then take another hour and a half to exit the disc. It’s the first time a total solar eclipse has passed from one U.S. coast to the other in 99 years!
Besides seeing a black orb slowly creeping across the Sun, a lot of unique phenomena will occur during the eclipse: the sunlight will brighten on one side of the Moon’s edge, creating a so-called ‘diamond ring effect”. That’s because it looks like a bright diamond attached to a ring of light, which is the Sun’s atmosphere shining around the Moon.
The Moon isn’t exactly smooth, so we may also witness an effect known as Baily’s Beads. Just before totality, specks of sunlight will pop out between the various valleys and indentions in the lunar crust, creating beads of light that sparkle around the edge of the Moon. Also, during totality we’ll be able to see the Sun’s atmosphere (known as the corona); it will look like delicate threads of light emanating from the solar disc.
Meanwhile, birds will stop chirping since they’ll think it’s nighttime and we may feel a slight drop in temperature, since our main heat source is covered up.
Although you’ll be tempted to look up at this amazing event-DON’T! If you look at direct sunlight long enough, you can do irreversible damage to your eyes; even a little bit of peeking at an eclipse is enough to hurt. In order to view the eclipse, pick up a pair of solar filter sunglasses (which block more than 99.99 percent of sunlight, as well as ultraviolet and infrared radiation). Or you can tune into NASA- who will be hosting an “Eclipse Megacast” for about four hours- on NASA TV and YouTube or you can watch the eclipse on CNN’s live stream.