A total solar eclipse occurs when the Moon completely covers the Sun’s disk, as seen in this 1999 solar eclipse. Image credits: Luc Viatour / Wikipedia.

Scientists who specialize in the field of astronomy say a total solar eclipse happens when the moon positions itself in such a way that it obstructs a portion of the sun’s rays from reaching the earth. People living in North America will witness such an event on the 21st August 2017, for a duration of two minutes and forty seconds. During the period, individuals residing within a path of 70 miles from Oregon, in the northwestern region of the country to South Carolina will notice that the moon completely shuts off the bright face of the sun. They will only see its outer atmosphere or solar corona along with some stars and other planets.

These experts advise people not to look at the sun directly during this astronomical event, except for a short phase, which they refer to as “totality.” This will occur when the moon completely blocks the bright face of the sun. They also recommend that individuals who intend to watch this occurrence should wear special-purpose eclipse glasses to safeguard their eyes from any damage. In addition to this, they suggest viewers should keep in mind the following tips while watching this spectacular phenomenon that will again take place in 2024:

Stage #1

During the Great American Solar Eclipse — the term scientists use to call this astronomical event — a moment will occur when the moon positions itself between the sun and planet Earth. In the course of this phase, people will glimpse several bright points shining on the edges of the moon. It is essential for these individuals to wear their eclipse glasses while viewing this event if they intend to protect their eyes.

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Stage #2

Next, the moon positions itself in such a way that these bright lights start to diminish until people can see only one bright beam of light on its outer edges. Even during this phase, it is not safe for these individuals to take off their protective eyewear which witnessing this occurrence. The internet is riddled with places where you can get more information about this amazing phenomenon, so there’s no excuse to do silly things!

Stage #3

Solar eclipse on May 20, 2012. Taken from Red Bluff, California. Image credits: Brocken Inaglory.

During this solar eclipse, a phase will come when this bright beam of starts to fade, and people on earth can no longer see the rays of the sun coming towards them. At this moment, they can see this occurrence without having to wear their protective glasses.

Stage #4

Scientists explain that it is important for people to wear their special-purpose eclipse glasses again when witnessing the final stage of this amazing astronomical event. This is because this phase is nothing but a recreation of the beginning.

Scientists go on to explain that an individual seeing the occurrence of a solar eclipse with his/her naked eyescan result in severe damage to the retina. In the worst-case scenario, this can lead to total blindness. However, with the aid of special-purpose eclipse glasses, it is possible to people to witness one of the nature’s most spectacular astronomical occurrences, which they will remember for the rest of their lives.

This is a guest contribution from Mandy Bular. Mandy is a space enthusiast and avid blog writer who is closely following the Great American solar eclipse and posted many articles related to the same on various websites.

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