WHAT TO DO IF YOU COULDN’T TRAVEL TO THE PATH OF TOTALITY
Missed experiencing the main event? Fear not, here are some alternatives
FIND THE ECLIPSE ONLINE
NASA organised a four-hour Eclipse MegaCast across multiple platforms. The MegaCast was streamed live by NASA TV (nasa.gov/multimedia/ nasatv), as well as by all PBS stations in the US. “The eclipse has a narrow path and there’s only so many universities it goes through, and we’re close to the point of greatest duration” said Bob Baer of Southern Illinois University’s physics department in Carbondale, which was chosen by NASA to host a large-scale broadcast and stream from their campus. Baer is the organiser for eclipse events at Carbondale – which enjoyed totality for two minutes and 38 seconds. The public observing event was held in the Saluki Stadium, and outside there was a studio from where the broadcast was sent around the world.
PLAN A VISIT TO THE SOUTH PACIFIC, CHILE OR ARGENTINA
The question after experiencing the totality on 21 August 2017: when is the next eclipse? The answer is 2 July 2019, when a total solar eclipse crosses the South Pacific (just north of Pitcairn Island), Chile’s Elqui Valley, and the Argentinian Pampas. The European Southern Observatory’s La Silla site will be thrown under the Moon’s shadow. On 26 December 2019 there is an eclipse across the Arabian peninsula, India and Singapore, but this time it’s an annular eclipse, which means the Moon will be furthest away from Earth in its elliptical orbit. This means the Moon doesn’t block the Sun completely, so there’s no totality but a ‘ring of fire’ eclipse instead.
SOME SETTLED FOR A GLIMPSE OF A PARTIAL ECLIPSE
Although a total solar eclipse was visible only to those within the path of totality, people all over the continental US – as well as Mexico, Canada and in the Caribbean – were able to view a partial solar eclipse. For instance, New York City and Los Angeles saw a 71 per cent and 68 per cent eclipse, respectively. Denver and Seattle both got a 92 per cent ‘deep partial’ eclipse.
Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona held an event to view a 70 per cent partial eclipse through solar telescopes. But you can easily do some science in your backyard. When the Sun is eclipsed more than about 50 per cent, hold up a colander, or anything with well-defined holes, in front of some white card to see projections of tiny crescent Suns.
MOVE TO AUSTRALIA
While total solar eclipses are not particularly rare (they happen about once every 18 months somewhere on the planet), any one location should statistically not expect more than one every 375 years. Australia massively bucks that trend in the 2020s and 2030s with a stunning five total solar eclipses in just 15 years. It begins in 2023 when Exmouth Peninsula in Western Australia – famous for whale sharks and humpback whales – is grazed by totality. But it gets better. In 2028 a solar eclipse will cross Australia, and those in Sydney will get an unbelievable four minutes of totality. “It’s another eclipse in my home and I cannot wait!” says Dr Kate Russo, an Australian-born psychologist who studies people’s reactions to watching totality. Australians will experience totality again in 2030, 2037 and 2038.