WHAT IS AN ECLIPSE AND HOW DOES IT HAPPEN?


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WHAT?

An eclipse is an obscuring of the light from one celestial body by the passage of another celestial body between the first one and the observer or between it and its source of illumination.

There are two types of eclipses.

A solar eclipse is a type of eclipse that occurs when the Moon passes between Earth and the Sun, and when the Moon fully or partially blocks the Sun from the observer on earth.

The Moon blocks the Sun for the Earth

A lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes directly behind the Earth into its umbra (shadow). This can occur only when the sun, Earth, and moon are aligned.

The Earth blocks the Sun for the Moon



HOW?

For the eclipse to occur these 3 celestial bodies must be in a straight line.
So, as a result, solar eclipse can only happen during a New Moon, and the lunar eclipse happens only during a Full Moon.

Wait, we have those phases every month, so why don’t we have eclipses that often?

Well, the catch here lies in the Moon’s orbit.
It goes at an angle from the Earth’s orbit around the Sun.

As you can see from the picture, when looking at the Earths full orbit around the Sun, the “line-up” happens only 2 times each year. So, every 6 months.

Now, as nothing is perfect in nature, total eclipses of the Sun are rare. There will be 5 total eclipses over the course of next 10 years.
It is truly a nature wonder.


WHAT HAPPENS DURING A SOLAR ECLIPSE?


Complete solar eclipse has 5 phases and 4 points of contact ( C1, C2, C3, C4 ).

Phase 1 – Partial eclipse begins

C1 happens.
That’s the point when the Moon disk “touches” the Sun disk.
At that point weird things start happening.
Everything starts getting dark.
Temperature starts dropping.
Animals start behaving strangely. It slowly becomes night time for them. Birds go quiet. Crickets can be heard making their noises.
This all lasts for about 1 hour.

Phase 2 – Total eclipse begins

That’s the point when the Moon disk starts covering the Sun disk. – a)
From that moment on, you need to pay attention to 3 important phenomenon.

1. Shadow Bands – (last 20-30s) Those are extremely rare. They look like thousands of snakes are serpentine-crawling on the floor in sync parallel to one another. To this day science doesn’t know the cause of this.

2. Diamond Ring – (lasts 5s) When the moon is about to cover the sun completely, that last part of light looks like a diamond ring in the sky. – b)

3. Bailey’s Beads – (last 1s) Right at the last moment, when the Moon is about to cover the Sun completely, there are last glimpses of light that pass by Moon’s craters and mountains, and to us looking from the Earth it looks like few small spots of light.

Phase 3 – Totality and maximum eclipse

C2 happens.
That’s the point when the Moon disk completely covers the Sun disk.
This is the most dramatic stage of a total solar eclipse. Only the Sun’s corona is visible.
At that point you can remove your glasses and watch the eclipse directly.
Don’t forget to scan the horizon during the totality. It looks like a sunrise from all sides, 360 degrees sunrise!

Phase 4 – Total eclipse ends

C3 happens.
That’s the point when the Moon disk starts leaving the Sun disk. –
From that exact point you have the opportunity to witness Bailey’s Beads, the Diamond Ring – a) and Shadow Bands once more (in that order).
After that things start coming back to normal.
Temperature rises, everything is bright again, animals normalize, etc.

Phase 5 – Partial eclipse ends

C4 happens.
That’s the exact point when the Moon disk leaves the Sun disk, that last touch.
.
.
.
Well everything is over.


THE 21st OF AUGUST – TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE
Location: United States



The total eclipse of the Sun of August 21st, 2017
will be the first solar eclipse to cross the entire continental United States in over 100 years!
Everyone from the US will be able to see the partial eclipse, and people within a “narrow” 70miles (110 km) path will have the privilege of witnessing a total solar eclipse.

The total eclipse will pass through following states:
Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

Total Eclipse viewing events will be organized. See more HERE.

The word is Kansas has best places for the most fulfilling experience.



BUT WHAT ABOUT CLOUDS?

Well, thanks to a redditor u/Geographist, we can roughly see what our chances of clear skies will be, due to 16 years of analyzed data.

Looking for blue skies for the August 21 eclipse? I analyzed 16 years of data to see where the skies are clearest [OC] from dataisbeautiful

Keep in mind that that it’s fire season in the West.
Some days were so thick with smoke that it appeared cloudy and that could ruin the experience, so…
Plan accordingly.

For best help and timing during the eclipse itself make sure you download this app developed by Gordon Telepun.

Apple App Store:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/solar-eclipse-timer/id1203105865?mt=8

Android Play Store:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.foxwoodastronomy.solareclipsetimer

This talking companion will keep notifying you about approaching contact times and phenomenon.

It will also tell you what phases of eclipse and for how long you will be able to see from your exact position set by your phone’s GPS.


HOW TO CAPTURE THE ECLIPSE (PHOTO/VIDEO)


Luckily for us we live in the age of technology.
Almost all modern cameras and DSLRs have 4k video option. Those allow you to set up your camera to film a 4k video and just relax and enjoy the event with your family, friends or significant other.
Later you can pull out best timed frames from the video.

There are some things you will need:

1. Tripod – Camera must not move during those 6-7 minutes of filming.

2. Solar Filter – Solar filter for your camera is necessary.
You can get them HERE! Hurry up because they are running out of stock fast!

3. Solar Glasses – So you can view the eclipse with your own eyes.

4. Optional Solar Binoculars – So you can see up close this beautiful event.



OK, BUT HOW?

You will have to do some preparations first.

Put the filter on your zoom lens.
Then take a piece of transparent foil and put it over your display. Make 2 straight lines like shown in the photo.

This will help you to line-up the camera to the Sun’s path.
You should zoom in until it takes 7 minutes for the sun to get from one side to the other side of the display.

Set FOCUS to manual, and set it to infinity.
Set EXPOSURE to manual and while having the solar filter ON, adjust for best footage.

And that’s it!

Start 2 minutes before Totality and for the next 7 minutes you are free to enjoy the view.

The only thing you will need to do during the eclipse is to remove the solar filter and adjust the exposure when totality is about to hit (end of phase 2), because it will be too dark and your camera won’t see anything, and to put it back like it was at start when totality ends (start of phase 4).


DON’T FORGET!


Bring up those drones of yours!
Try filming SHADOW SNAKES from the air!
Also make some nice panorama images of the horizon. Remember 360 sunrise!

Show us your best work!


DANGER



Don’t fly over people.

Don’t ruin someone’s photos by “eclipsing” the eclipse for their cameras.
Don’t point your drone’s camera directly towards the Sun, it may damage the sensor.

During partial eclipse, when even the tiniest fraction of the Sun’s surface is visible.PROPER EYE PROTECTION MUST BE WORN!

How NOT to see the eclipse:

Solar Glasses through telescope: One should NEVER wear solar glasses and look at the Sun through any unfiltered telescope, binoculars, or camera. The focused, unfiltered sunlight will literally melt through the glasses and then burn your eyes, causing irreparable damage.

Exposed X-ray or Camera Film DO NOT protect against the intense ultraviolet, visible, and infrared light that you are exposed to when looking directly at the Sun.

Stacks of sunglasses should NEVER be used to view the Sun even if they are considered 100% UV protective.



BUT WHAT DO I DO IF I CAN’T GO TO USA NOW?

There are options for everyone.

1. Join the Live stream and don’t miss out!

2. Plan a trip in future to do and attend to one of these eclipses.
We will be sure to go to Argentina in few years, so meet you there?


For the rest of you who can be there: Have a great time on 21st of August!

Plan everything well, and remember…

Fly Safe.

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