SO­LAR ECLIPSE

Be­fore the eclipse be­gins to­day, Metro has un­cov­ered the best ways to en­sure that you don’t miss any of the ce­les­tial won­der.

Metro USA (Boston) - - FRONT PAGE - KRISTIN TOU­S­SAINT @kristin­dakota kristin.tou­s­saint@metro.us

Are you ex­cited about Mon­day’s so­lar eclipse? Though not quite a on­cein-a-life­time event, the phe­nom­e­non is spe­cial. Kathy Reeves, an as­tronomer at the Har­vardSmith­so­nian Cen­ter for Astro­physics who is in­volved with the op­er­a­tion of NASA tele­scopes, took some time to talk to Metro about the event be­fore she headed to Ore­gon to get a bet­ter view of the to­tal eclipse.

What makes this eclipse so spe­cial?

This is the first el­lipse to cross the U.S. since 1918. There have been eclipses in the U.S. since then, but this is the first one that goes coast to coast since 1918, and that’s pretty cool. It means a lot of peo­ple are go­ing to be able to see the to­tal­ity, the part where the moon com­pletely cov­ers the sun.

How is this dif­fer­ent from other eclipses?

To­tal eclipses hap­pen ev­ery cou­ple of years or so, but the lo­ca­tion is re­ally the in­ter­est­ing part of this eclipse. The last eclipse that hap­pened in the con­ti­nen­tal U.S. hap­pened in 1979 (there was one in Hawaii in 1991). It only went over Ore­gon and Washington in the north­ern part of the Pa­cific North­west. It was sim­i­lar, but it cov­ered a smaller part of the U.S., so fewer peo­ple would have had ac­cess to that.

What do you ex­pe­ri­ence dur­ing a to­tal eclipse?

It gets dark and it’s not quite the same as when it gets dark at night. There’s still a lit­tle bit of light com­ing from the sun, the outer layer called the corona. The light has this very strange twi­light kind of qual­ity, and it does get a lit­tle cooler [in tem­per­a­ture]. De­pend­ing on where you are, there might be changes with the birds. We were in Aus­tralia for the last one and we no­ticed the birds stopped chirp­ing.

Why is it worth it to see an eclipse?

It’s just a beau­ti­ful nat­u­ral event. Pic­tures don’t do it jus­tice. Hav­ing the whole ex­pe­ri­ence is re­ally ex­cit­ing — see­ing it and feel­ing it and hear­ing it and be­ing in a group of peo­ple all ex­cited about it as it’s hap­pen­ing is re­ally cool. As soon as you see a to­tal eclipse, you think to your­self, “Wow, I gotta do that again.”

GETTY IM­AGES, PHOTO IL­LUS­TRA­TION

GETTY IM­AGES

A so­lar eclipse will hit on Mon­day, Aug. 21.

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