Categories: Cosmology

Everything you need to know to be ready for Monday’s Great American Eclipse

You know the drill. On Monday 21 August the contiguous United States will experience a total solar eclipse – the first time the path of the Moon’s shadow will travel across the entire country since 1918. There will be hype, there will be science, and there will be what we estimate to be about a gazillion photos and videos of the event. Whether you’re going to see it live or not, here’s everything you need to know to be ready.

Here’s where it will strikeIf you’re planning to be physically present on the path of totality, we’re sure your travel plans have already been laid out well in advance. But just in case, here’s where you can find out where it’s going to hit and what times to look out for, depending on your location.

Here’s what you need to bring – Everyone’s been talking about eclipse glasses, and they are indeed the single most important piece of equipment you’re going to need to experience the sight in full glory, especially before and after totality hits. But there’s other stuff you may forget to chuck in the car in all that excitement – like binoculars, picnic gear, or even sunscreen. So we’ve prepared a handy list of the most important things, with some solid guidance from experienced eclipse viewer and astronomer Amanda Bauer.

If you’re planning to take photos or videos of the eclipse, make sure you bring the right filters and choose the right settings to avoid frying your expensive camera.

Here’s what to watch out for during totality – Everyone knows it gets weirdly dark when the Moon completely blots out the Sun in our sky. But you can also expect the weather to go weird. The ‘eclipse wind’ phenomenon puzzled meteorologists for some 300 years, until they finally came up with the most plausible explanation yet a couple years ago. Spoiler: it’s to do with variation in our planet’s boundary layer.

Another fascinating aspect of the strange totality darkness is its effect on animals. This has not been studied much, because it’s tricky to gather enough data on potentially weird animal behaviours triggered by the eclipse. Researchers are hoping that this time citizen scientists will help out with some observations. More here: – ScienceAlert

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