Home / Spotlight / Ten blazing questions about Monday’s solar eclipse, answered

Ten blazing questions about Monday’s solar eclipse, answered



Updated: August 16, 2017 — 1:22 PM EDT


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JON SNYDER / STAFF ARTIST A perspective from space gives us a improved demeanour during a factors that make an problematic happen.





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Tom Avril is a health and scholarship reporter. A former math clergyman and engineering major, he was hired in 1998, and formerly lonesome environmental issues and New Jersey state government. Along with dual colleagues, he was a finalist for a 2009 Pulitzer Prize in inhabitant stating about how politics had sinister a goal of a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  


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For a integrate of hours on Monday, in box we have somehow missed a astronomical grade of excitement, a moon will get in a approach of a perspective of a sun. Along a scarcely 70-mile-wide trail stretching from Oregon to South Carolina, for dual to 3 mins during a rise of a phenomenon, a object will be lonesome wholly and a sky will go dark.

Read some-more about a eclipse

COMING MONDAY: Derrick Pitts, a Franklin Institute’s arch astronomer, will take your solar problematic questions live on Philly.com’s Facebook page during 3 p.m., usually after a eclipse’s rise in Philadelphia.

Pennsylvania and New Jersey will knowledge a obtuse spectacle, with a moon restraint three-quarters of a object during a peak, in midafternoon. The sky will dim somewhat, to about a turn of early evening. If a continue is clear, a object will seem as yet a moon were holding a hulk punch out of it — though be certain to use approved solar-eclipse eyeglasses for protection. Mere sunglasses are not enough. With a assistance of dual astronomers, Villanova University’s Ed Guinan and Rider University’s John Bochanski, we yield a pile-up march in all things eclipse:

  1. When is it function here? In Philadelphia, a moon starts to corner in front of a object during 1:21 p.m. Monday, obscuring some-more and some-more of it any notation until reaching a limit of 75 percent coverage during 2:44 p.m. Then a moon continues usually on a path, divulgence a full object once again during 4:01 p.m.
  2. Why is this such a singular event? It competence seem that a perspective of a object would be blocked any time a moon travels around a Earth, once any 27 days. Not so. That is since a moon’s trail around a Earth is slanted by about 5 degrees with honour to a Earth’s circuit around a sun. We understand a solar problematic usually when a 3 astronomical bodies are lined adult usually right.
  3. What is a prejudiced eclipse? Most solar eclipses are partial, with that bite-out-of-the-sun coming no matter where they are noticed from a Earth’s aspect — again, since it is singular for a 3 bodies to line adult perfectly. A handful of solar eclipses are “annular,” definition that a moon lies along a approach trail between a earth and sun, though is too distant divided to retard a object totally — withdrawal an apparent “ring of fire” around a moon’s outdoor edge. To get an thought because this happens, reason your ride nearby your eye to eclipse, or block, your whole perspective of a skyscraper. Then extend a ride to arm’s length, and it will no longer cover a whole building.
  4. How mostly can we see a sum eclipse? Total solar eclipses, such as a one on Monday, start somewhere on Earth any year or two, though many of them are manifest usually from a ocean. The final time a sum problematic could be seen in a United States was 1979, along a trail from Oregon to North Dakota. The subsequent one that will be manifest from a U.S. occurs in 2024, along a trail that includes Erie.
  5. When does a sum solar problematic start on Monday? NASA says a lunar shade will start to climb conflicting a Oregon seashore during 9:05 a.m. Pacific time, though a uncover unequivocally starts during 10:15, when a perspective of a object from that plcae will be 100 percent vaporous for scarcely dual minutes. This generation of “totality” lasts even longer elsewhere, with a indicate of biggest duration, 2 mins 43 seconds, in Carbondale, Ill. The final U.S. plcae to see a sum problematic is Charleston, S.C., with a materialisation finale during 2:48 p.m. Philadelphia time.
  6. Why does a problematic transport from west to east? The earth spins on a pivot from west to east, so it competence during initial seem that a moon’s shade during an problematic would slip back in a conflicting direction. But a moon is roving from west to eastward as well, during a most aloft speed than a Earth is spinning underneath it. The net effect: a lunar shade moves in an eastward direction.
  7. How can we see it safely? Amid high demand, some vendors of solar eyeglasses are out of stock. Another option: NASA is streaming a eventuality live during eclipse2017.nasa.gov, transmitting a vigilance from dozens of camera-equipped balloons that will be launched miles into a sky. That will embody views of a object as good as footage of a moon’s shade racing conflicting a Earth’s surface, during a tip speed of some-more than 2,200 mph. Among a groups promulgation adult a balloon is a organisation of engineering students from Temple University. The organisation skeleton to launch a balloon from a site west of Bowling Green, Ky., along a trail of a sum eclipse, pronounced expertise confidant John Helferty, an associate highbrow of electrical and mechanism engineering. The students have devised a complement to aim their airborne video camera from a laptop mechanism on a ground, he said. “We fundamentally usually use a left, right, up, and down keys to pierce a camera around,” Helferty said.
  8. Will a object light adult a “dark side” of a moon?  With apologies to Pink Floyd, there is no dim side of a moon. There is a “back” side that we never see, though it is struck by a sun’s rays usually as mostly as a front, as it will be during the eclipse.
    JON SNYDER

  9. What’s an umbraphile? Solar problematic fanatics are famous to transport a universe in hunt of a best views. Villanova’s Guinan, a highbrow of astrophysics and heavenly science, confesses to being a assuage umbraphile, carrying seen 8 sum solar eclipses. (Umbra means “shadow” in Latin.) Sometimes skeleton go awry. In 1995, he and a organisation of astronomers trafficked to Thailand to watch an problematic from a drift of an ancient temple, though a highway was tangled with traffic. They finished adult pulling off to declare a problematic from an asphalt-making plant. “We wanted to see it in a pleasing setting, and here we saw it during an industrial site,” he said.
  10. Will eclipses keep function forever? The moon is flapping 1.5 inches over divided from a Earth any year. In about 600 million years, it will no longer seem large adequate to problematic a sun, should anyone still be around to perspective it. All solar eclipses from afterwards on would be of a annular variety, with a ring of glow manifest around a moon’s dim silhouette

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