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It’s Coming: A Rare Total Solar Eclipse

03 Aug

It’s Coming: A Rare Total Solar Eclipse

Posted By: 
Kaitlyn Guay

Did you know Christa McAuliffe School of Arts and Sciences is named after an extraordinary astronaut? That’s why we’re jumping up and down over this rare event happening August 21st: a total solar eclipse! You may have seen a partial solar eclipse, or a more common lunar eclipse, but a complete solar eclipse? That is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and we are giddy to share it with you! Here’s some information on what to expect.

At the onset of the total eclipse, the afternoon sky will begin to darken rapidly. The wind will pick up and every hair on your body will stand on end as the temperature suddenly drops 10-15 degrees. Night-time insects will begin to croon, and stars and planets will pop into existence against the inky blue sky. (You can imagine the terror this event must have evoked in ancient times!) Once the moon has fully eclipsed the sun, eclipse2017.org says “it will look to you as though someone has painted the sky a deep blue-black, has cut an impossibly-black hole in it with a pair of scissors, and then smeared radiant, glowing, shimmering cotton candy around that hole.” This will be the first total solar eclipse in 38 years!

What makes it different from a partial solar eclipse? The corona. Only during a full solar eclipse does the corona appear, misting around the black hole in the sky in gossamer white tendrils that wave into the air, ethereal as jellyfish tentacles. Solar flares can also appear, rippling through the air in multicolor hues. Red, green, yellow, no one knows what they’ll look like until they’re there, painting psychedelic brushstrokes into the sky.

At CMASAS, we’re celebrating this event with our students and we invite you to join. In fact, our staff have the day off to enjoy the event, so we apologize if we don’t pick up the phone that day!

Ready to join us as we congregate throughout the country? Here’s what you’ll need:

  • It is essential to have proper eclipse viewing glasses. Even seconds looking at the sun without them can burn your retinas irrevocably. If you plan to use binoculars or take pictures, be sure to use proper filters not only to protect your eyes, but also to ensure no flash photography is going off during the big event! (Other spectators trying to get this once-in-a-lifetime shot will be furious. Trust us.) These glasses/filters can come off ONLY when the moon has fully eclipsed the sun. If you’re in a popular viewing location, you may hear a whistle indicating when it’s safe to remove your protective eyewear.

  • You’ll also need a viewing spot along the band where the eclipse will be most visible. Check out the map linked below to find where you can best view this phenomenon closest to you! Remember to check the weather in the days ahead. If it’s going to be cloudy, find another location on the map, or you may miss it! Remember, this is a huge event, so be sure to get there early, pack a lot of water, food, and sunblock, and have your phones charged so you can take lots of pre-event pics and tag CMASAS on Instagram (@arts_n_sciences) using #myschoolmyway to connect to the hundreds of students and staff experiencing the same event all around the country! (Fun fact: According to NASA, the eclipse will take about 1 hour and 40 minutes to cross the entire country!)