10 Really Useful Eclipse Resources
The Great American Eclipse of 2017 is not far away and probably rolling in way faster than you expected.
To help you out we've compiled the best places on the internet to get information. If you are going to be anywhere within the eclipse path, please make sure you are viewing safely. Use certified eclipse viewing glasses, and never look at the sun while any of it is visible.
Having experienced an eclipse I've put my thoughts on it in this blog post. Meanwhile, these sites are the best information you'll get on the eclipse.
The NASA site is comprehensive with everything you will need to know, including where to watch, how to view it safely and answers to every question you might have about how eclipses happen and what you will see.
The Planetary Society
Tools, tips, videos and activities to make the most of the eclipse for yourself and your family.
National Geographic: Photographing the Eclipse
Everyone will want great memories, and the internet will be flooded with eclipse images after the event. Take your own, but don't forget to enjoy the show as well.
National Geographic photographers are the best on the planet. This link has some tips from them.
I took the image above in 2012 in Northern Australia. Even though it isn't the best eclipse image. I was there and I took this. It's a great memory of an unforgettable experience.
Can't Get to the Eclipse Path?
Nothing beats being there in person, but it just won't be possible for everyone. The Exploratorium app will give you a view of the eclipse from telescopes along the path of totality. This is how I'll be watching it.
Time have created a simulator to show you exactly what it will look like from where you are. Just add your zip code and it will show you how the moon will pass across the sun from there.
Do Some Citizen Science
Be part of a bigger experiment. Here are three Citizen Science projects that could use your participation during the Eclipse.
NASA Globe Observer : Help NASA by measuring temperature changes during the eclipse. You'll need the app and a thermometer. Check out the page for instructions.
The Eclipse Mega Movie : Recording the path of totality as it crosses the continent, rather than from a single place. Images from thousands of volunteers will be stitched together into one movie. The data from this will be available for analysis after the megamovie has been processed.
Life Responds : Did you know that plants and animals act as though the sun has set during an eclipse. The Life Responds project by the California Academy of Sciences is asking people to make observations about how life in the path of totality responds to the eclipse.
The Beauty of An Eclipse
Annie Dillard's essay on the 1979 total eclipse remains one of the literary classics of the event. Describing the journey, the event and the impact, it is lyrical, compelling and deeply moving. The impact of an eclipse is personal, memorable and impactful.
Safe Eclipse Viewing
Looking at the sun is dangerous and it will damage your eyes. It's no more dangerous on Eclipse day, but you are more likely to watch the sun. You don't watch it on normal days. Watching the sun for any length of time will damage your eyes.
It is easy to view safely. You need certified safe eclipse glasses, or you can watch the event with your own home made eclipse watcher.
What will I see?
The simple story of an Eclipse is that the Moon passes between the Earth and the Sun and for a few moments, the sun is totally covered. The event of an Eclipse is a lot more complex.
You should watch (safely) for Baily's beads and the Diamond Ring effect. Look for stars and planets, normally invisible during the day. You'll see Venus, Mercury and Jupiter. The entire eclipse changes the sky and the environment. These links will show you what to look for.
Will it be cloudy?
Cloud will make your view of totality disappointing, but you will still get to experience the eclipse as day turns to night, in the daytime.
Weather forecasts will be available 7 days before the event. With current technology weather forecasting is a lot more accurate than it used to be. As with any weather forecast, the closer it is to the day the more accurate the forecasts.
When is the next one?
Many people who see an eclipse simply can't wait to see the next one. If you have the means you will want to travel the world, chasing eclipses. This site will tell you where to go to see the next total solar eclipse.
The NASA Eclipse site describes all of the upcoming eclipses. It's a little bit technical, but if you are interested in the next eclipse it is worth taking the time to learn how to read it.
You'll also find information about lunar eclipses and planetary transits of the sun (when Mercury or Venus passes between the Earth and the Sun)