For the first time in 99 years, a total solar eclipse will be viewable coast-to-coast across the continental (continguous) United States.
On Aug. 21, the moon will pass between the Earth and the sun. And if you’re lucky enough to be on part of the path of totality, which goes across 12 states beginning in Oregon and ending in South Carolina, weather permitting you can experience the moon perfectly blocking the sun!
Unfortunately, Arizona isn’t along the path of totality. Phoenicians, starting at 9:13 a.m., will see 63 percent of the sun eclipsed. Three minutes later, Tucsonans will see a 59-percent solar eclipse.
Since looking at the sun directly can permanently damage your eyes, you can build a simple projector (https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/solar-viewing-projector) or purchase
inexpensive special sun viewing glasses that are labeled “ISO 12312-2” compliant. There are a few reports of fake glasses, so go to a science center, planetarium or astronomy store to purchase them.
Millions are expected to be on or near the path of totality Aug. 21, which has made airfares to those places jump dramatically!
Even the Postal Service is excited about this solar eclipse across the United States. On June 20, it issued a Total Solar Eclipse Forever stamp with thermochromic (heat-sensitive) ink. It shows a total eclipse, and when you put your thumb on it, the dark shadow lightens to reveal the moon! Many Post Offices are sold out of these special stamps, so you need to check.
The total eclipse will only last for about 2 min. 44 sec. to most viewers, leaving only the sun’s whispy outer part, its CORONA, visible during this time. NASA will scramble two jets with telescopes mounted up front to get images of totality for more than 7 minutes!