National Eclipse in August

On August 21st the first coast-to-coast eclipse in almost a hundred years will cross the US. In fact, it’s the first eclipse exclusive to the US in nearly 300 years. Therefore, this eclipse has been dubbed the “National Eclipse.” But, what is an eclipse? According to “A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between the Earth and the Sun and the Moon blocks the Sun for a viewer on Earth.” This eclipse will be a total eclipse, when the Moon and Sun are perfectly aligned. During a total eclipse the sun is entirely obscured causing “totality.” The eclipse will travel on a path from Oregon to South Carolina, with 67 mile wide swathe experiencing totality. Totality generally lasts about 3 minutes and begins with the Moon slowly covering the Sun until only a thin line of light remains around the dark orb of the moon. It’s possible to experience lower temperatures and see birds returning to their nests during a total eclipse.

It’s also important to be safe during an eclipse. While the Sun is being blocked by the moon, eye damage can still be caused by looking directly at the Sun. One should only use certified eclipse-safe glasses to view this extraordinary event. NASA has laid out the following criteria to identify safe glasses:

·      Have certification information with a designated ISO 12312-2 international standard.
·      Have the manufacturer’s name and address printed somewhere on the product.
·      Not be used if they are older than three years, or have scratched or wrinkled lenses.
·      Not use homemade filters.

Regular sunglasses are NOT safe for eclipse viewing.

Fort Hays will unfortunately only be in a partial eclipse on the 21st. The nearest cities to view totality will be Grand Island, NE and Kansas City, MO. Remember to keep an eye on the weather as clouds can obscure the eclipse and diminish your viewing experience. Stay safe and enjoy the the National Eclipse! For more info on the eclipse check out these sites, NASA and National Eclipse!

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