Everything you need to know about the Solar Eclipse!

In Nature, Space by Mystifact

By now, you have probably heard that in some parts of the world, there will be a total Solar Eclipse. To highlight the rarity of such an event, the next one will be in the year 2090 (if you are in the UK)! It is a beautiful experience and is definitely worth knowing all about. This ensures you will be prepared for the next one if you are in other parts of the world where it will be happening in the following few years.

Solar Eclipse

Why is a total Solar Eclipse so special? Well, you’ll notice a few spectacular changes in the environment around you as it starts [1].

• Shadows become sharper
• Colours of your surroundings dull down and become more bluish-grey
• Temperatures noticeably drop
• The shadow cast by the Moon rushes towards you like a silent storm
• When the Moon is in the right place, the Sun looks like a diamond ring in the Sky!

It really is an experience; and due to its rarity, this astronomical event attracts people from all over the World. I don’t blame them!

What is a Solar Eclipse?

A Solar Eclipse is essentially when the Moon orbits our planet at just the right angle such that it blocks out the Sun’s rays; casting shadows across the Earth’s surface [2]. Since the Moon is so small compared to Earth, it cannot block out all of the Sun’s light, hence why it occurs in different places at different times as opposed to the everywhere on Earth at the same time.

Why isn’t there always a Solar Eclipse?

Since the Moon orbits the Earth pretty much once a month, why don’t we get a Solar Eclipse… every month, when the Moon is in front of the Sun? To put it simply, imagine a straight line. Now, put the Earth, Moon and Sun on this straight line. When the Moon orbits Earth, it doesn’t always orbit along this same straight line. It is only when the Moon orbits along this ‘line’, that we get a Solar Eclipse [3]. The image below explains this very well, courtesy of this video.

Figure 1: Image showing the imaginary line (red) and the fluctuating angle of orbit, of the Moon (white)

Safety first!

If you have not already seen the Eclipse, or have one coming up in the next month; it is worth talking about the safety hazards that come along with observing it with the naked eye, as opposed to using Solar Eclipse glasses.

Blurred vision and Blindness

The sad truth is that either could happen, temporarily or permanently, even if you look at the eclipse for just seconds [4]. Unfortunately, there is no defined ‘limit’ as to how long you can look at the Sun before it starts to do damage, since everyone is different. Damage simply ranges way too much, so it is strongly advised to wear Solar Eclipse glasses.

What about normal Sunglasses?

Most people have at least one pair of Sunglasses so assume they can use them for the Solar Eclipse. The reality is, that they are practically useless. Solar Eclipse glasses block out 99.9999% of sunlight [5]. This means if you wore them at the beach on an ordinary day, you’d barely see a thing!

When my eyes start to hurt can’t I just stop looking?

No, absolutely not. The problem with our eyes, is that we don’t have pain receptors in them, meaning we cannot tell what degree of damage is being done. Today, in America, paramedics are on high alert as they are expecting many instances of eye damage following the total Solar Eclipse! In fact, this video will show you exactly what it can do if you are not careful (Warning – Graphic Content):

Please take care. If you are looking for the perfect glasses for sufficient protection; follow this link and make sure your friends and family have them too!

If you have any questions, leave them below and until next time, take care.

~ Mystifact


References:
[1]: http://www.solareclipse2015.org.uk/solar-eclipse-phenomena/
[2]: https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/solar-eclipse.html
[3]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jnphuI7hyeM
[4]: https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/safety
[5]: http://heavy.com/news/2017/08/solar-eclipse

Please note; no copyright infringement is intended. All images used have been labelled for re-use on Google Images. If any artist or designer has any issues with any of the content used in this article, please don’t hesitate to contact me to correct the issue.

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