Before the eclipse begins today, Metro has uncovered the best ways to ensure that you don’t miss any of the celestial wonder.
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.”
A solar eclipse will hit on Monday, Aug. 21.