Total Solar Eclipse 2017: What CT Residents Need To Know

HARTFORD, CT — For the first time in nearly a century, a total solar eclipse will be visible across North America. The once-in-a-lifetime event will take place on Monday, Aug. 21, according to NASA.

The total eclipse viewing corridor will stretch across 14 states, according to NASA. The first sighting in the U.S. on Aug. 21 will be in Lincoln Beach, Oregon, at 9:05 a.m. PDT (12:05 p.m. EST) and will last be seen in Charleston, South Carolina, at 4:05 p.m.

According to eclipse2017.org, Connecticut will experience an approximately 68 percent eclipse. The partial phases will start in our area at 1:25 p.m., according to both Yale University and Wesleyan University. It will then reach a maximum effacement of the sun’s disk at 2:45 p.m. and end around at 4 p.m.

The site also warns that Connecticut residents must always use eye protection to view the eclipse. Many sites across the internet offer quick delivery for eclipse glasses.

There will also be a total lunar eclipse taking place Aug. 7, however it will only be visible on the other side of the world.

Lunar eclipses occur two to four times per year, when the moon passes through some portion of the Earth’s shadow, according to Space.com. Lunar and solar eclipses happen in pairs, with the lunar eclipse happening within two weeks of a solar eclipse.

Total solar eclipses occur about once every 18 months and are visible from at least some place on the Earth’s surface, however it would take a millennium for every geographic location in the continental U.S. to see the phenomenon, according to NASA.

NASA will be providing live video from several cities in the path of the total eclipse.

Locally, the Connecticut Science Center will host a Total Eclipse Celebration the weekend of Aug. 19. The event will kick off Sunday, Aug. 20, with Live Science events centered on this amazing celestial event.

Members who visit on Saturday and Sunday can also pick up their exclusive Solar Eclipse kit, complete with a pair of NASA approved solar eclipse glasses.

Then on Monday, Aug. 21, attendees can view the solar eclipse at the Connecticut Science Center while enjoying fun family-friendly activities. The center will have tons of activities from crafts to live streams along the path of totality, as well as food trucks and a dance party.

Science Center staff will be on hand to answer questions and give further information on the solar eclipse. Yoga class led by Vasu Tribe Studio of Hartford will also be available.

You can also use this interactive Google map to find the spot of the longest eclipse. An interactive map with additional events throughout the U.S. is found here.

Solar Eclipse Viewing Tips

  • Looking directly at the sun is unsafe, and the only safe way to look directly at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun is through special “eclipse glasses” with solar filters, warns NASA, which offers these tips:
  • Homemade filters or sunglasses are not safe for looking at the sun. Five manufacturers have certified that their eclipse glasses and handheld solar views meet international standards, and they are Rainbow Symphony, American Paper Optics, Thousand Oaks Optical, TSE 17and Baader Planetarium.
  • Always inspect your solar filter before use; if scratched or damaged, discard it. Read and follow any instructions printed on or packaged with the filter. Always supervise children using solar filters.
  • Stand still and cover your eyes with your eclipse glasses or solar viewer before looking up at the bright sun. After glancing at the sun, turn away and remove your filter — do not remove it while looking at the sun.
  • Do not look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars or other optical device. Similarly, do not look at the sun through a camera, a telescope, binoculars or any other optical device while using your eclipse glasses or hand-held solar viewer — the concentrated solar rays will damage the filter and enter your eye(s), causing serious injury. Seek expert advice from an astronomer before using a solar filter with a camera, a telescope, binoculars or any other optical device.
  • If you are within the path of totality, remove your solar filter only when the moon completely covers the sun’s bright face and it suddenly gets quite dark. Experience totality, then, as soon as the bright sun begins to reappear, replace your solar viewer to glance at the remaining partial phases.
  • An alternative method for safe viewing of the partially eclipsed sun is pinhole projection. For example, cross the outstretched, slightly open fingers of one hand over the outstretched, slightly open fingers of the other. With your back to the sun, look at your hands’ shadow on the ground. The little spaces between your fingers will project a grid of small images on the ground, showing the sun as a crescent during the partial phases of the eclipse.

Images via NASA

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Originally published August 4, 2017.

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