The first total solar eclipse visible in the United States since 1979 is expected to happen on August 21, 2017. It will be visible to the eastern half of the United States from Oregon to South Carolina. What does this mean for us? The moon will cover more than ninety percent of the sun during the middle of the day, which will create darkness. For a few brief minutes, day will become night. The Roanoke Valley area can expect to see the solar eclipse to happen around 2:40 pm. The next such solar eclipse to be visible to the United States will not occur again until 2024.
Scientists in the Making
Virginia Tech and Radford University students have been steadily preparing for the phenomenon. Three teams of students and faculty from Virginia Tech will be spread out to measure the eclipse’s effects on low frequency radar waves: one team in Oregon as the eclipse arrives in the U.S., one in Kansas at mid-eclipse and one in South Carolina as it leaves the country. The data that will be collected will be analyzed to see what happens to radio waves when the ionosphere suddenly isn’t being pounded by solar radiation, which will be blocked by the moon. Understanding the data and comparing it to models can help scientists better analyze the effects of space weather events on the earth.
Please take note, even though the sun will be blocked by the moon, it is not recommended to look directly at the sun. Doing so, can still cause eye damage and possibly blindness. Only when when the disk of the sun is completely covered by the moon, is it safe to look directly at the celestial event. It is recommended for viewers to purchase a pair of solar viewing glasses manufactured by companies such as Rainbow Symphony, American Paper Optics, or Thousand Oaks Optical for example. Regular sunglasses will not do the trick!
For more information visit: https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/eclipse-who-what-where-when-and-how