We have all been preparing for the Total Solar Eclipse coming up on August 21. It is exciting because the shadow will pass from the west coast of Oregon to the east coast of South Carolina. An eclipse hasn’t passed from one coast to the other in 99 years.  What does this really mean? What is a solar eclipse? Hopefully this will help answer some questions and get you even more excited about the upcoming event.

What is a Total Solar Eclipse?

According to NASA, a total solar eclipse is when the moon passes between the sun and earth blocking the sun for up to three hours. “For this eclipse, the longest period when the moon completely blocks the sun from any given location along the path will be about two minutes and 40 seconds,” (NASA)

Fun Fact: The moon actually passes between the earth and sun once about every 18 months, but since this one can be seen across America it is a rare occurrence.

 Figure 3 – Diagram showing the Earth-sun-moon geometry of a total solar eclipse. Not to scale: If drawn to scale, the Moon would be 30 Earth diameters away. The sun would be 400 times that distance.

How to view an Eclipse

Observing the sun can be dangerous if you do not take the proper precautions. Anyone who has looked at the sun without sunglasses knows it can hurt. It is important to wear protective glasses while watching the eclipse because the long exposure to the light will trigger a series of chemical reactions within your rod and con cells which will damage their ability to respond to visual reactions. The damage can be temporary or, in some cases, permanent. For eclipse viewing make sure you have a pair of safety glasses.

Be sure look at the following diagram because there are times you won’t need the protective glasses.

When can we view the Eclipse?

Unfortunately Seattle will only be able to see partial coverage since Seattle is about 230 miles from the solar eclipse’s path of totality. However, it will still be about 93% coverage, which is still pretty cool.

According to the news, the eclipse will start at 9:09 am, at 10:21 am it will be at maximum coverage, and it will end at 11:39 am.

Let’s all watch the eclipse together!

Do you know anyone in a different state? Do you know anyone on another coast?

How will you be sharing the eclipse with friends and family?

We want to hear from you! Let us know how you will be celebrating with friends and family, near and far.