Millions Prepare for total Solar Eclipse in North America

Why is today’s solar eclipse so remarkable?

According to Nasa, this event will be different from past total solar eclipses.

According to scientists, the Sun’s corona, which is its outermost layer, will be more visible during the upcoming total solar eclipse. This is because the Sun is currently experiencing heightened activity.

The 2024 eclipse will have a longer duration compared to the one in 2017.

The path of totality is extended, resulting in a greater number of individuals being able to witness the eclipse compared to the previous total solar eclipse. Over 31.6 million individuals reside within the 200 mile (322km) path of totality, a significant increase compared to the previous occurrence of this event.

Even individuals residing in different locations will have the opportunity to witness the eclipse in various ways. Nasa states on its website that the majority of individuals residing in the United States will have the opportunity to witness the partial or total eclipse from their own locations.

British researchers visit the United States to witness an eclipse

Scientists from the UK and Nasa are collaborating in Dallas to study the properties of the corona’s light and the behaviour of excited iron atoms using advanced technology.

“During an eclipse, we are presented with a rare chance to easily measure this region and observe the correlations between the Sun and solar wind,” stated Dr. Huw Morgan of Aberystwyth University.

In a separate development, Ellie MacDonald, a science educator at Kielder Observatory near the Scottish border, has made her way to Texas to live stream the event.

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MacDonald, 26, is excited to share her footage of the eclipse with her followers, as she has never seen one before.

She shares with BBC: “Many people fondly recall the incredible experience of witnessing it in 1999, particularly those who had the opportunity to view it in Cornwall.” Hopefully the livestream will be just as good as being there in person.

If eclipses occur monthly, why isn’t it more often?

When it comes to an eclipse, one might assume that the Earth, Moon, and Sun would align with the same frequency, considering the Moon orbits the Earth once a month.

However, the Moon’s orbit around the Earth deviates slightly from the plane of the Sun and the Earth, with a tilt of approximately 5 degrees.

It’s a rare occurrence when the three celestial bodies align perfectly, resulting in a total solar eclipse.

Because of this, Europe will feel left out.

The Moon’s shadow emerges from the Earth’s surface in the vast expanse of the Atlantic Ocean, approximately 1,000km (620 miles) before it reaches the European continent.

However, it’s not completely insignificant. In regions like Normandy in France and in western parts of the UK, you may still have the chance to witness the last moments of a partial eclipse right before sunset.

Attention to all Brits! Imagine drawing a line from Fowey in Cornwall to Berwick-upon-Tweed in Northumberland. Fascinatingly, those situated west of this line may have the opportunity to witness the Moon gracefully nibbling at the Sun’s edge as it sets below the horizon.

Ensure that you are situated at an elevated location with unobstructed views of the sky. It can be challenging, but there are moments when fortune smiles upon us.

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Do not listen to that old crap.

In ancient times, people regarded total solar eclipses with a mixture of wonder and trepidation.

They were seen as an indication, typically a negative one – a precursor to something terrible that was imminent.

It’s unfortunate that despite progress, there are still instances of misguided information.

There are certain beliefs surrounding cooking during an eclipse, suggesting that it may render the food poisonous. Similarly, there are concerns about the potential harm an eclipse could pose to a pregnant woman and her baby. Complete nonsense.

Eclipses are a fascinating result of the precise movements of celestial bodies in our Solar System. Their sole impact is to modify the illumination reaching Earth and cause slight adjustments in the atmosphere, like altering the wind patterns.

Where does it arrive and where will it go?

The totality commences over the Pacific ocean, as the Moon’s shadow swiftly moves towards the northeast, reaching the land just south of Mazatlán in Mexico.

The eclipse made its way into the US just north of Piedras Negras in Mexico and will conclude its journey over the Atlantic Ocean, with a partial view across the pond.

If you happen to possess the necessary equipment, you might be fortunate enough to catch a glimpse of a sunset partial eclipse from certain western locations in the UK.

What is a solar eclipse?

During a solar eclipse, the Moon passes in front of the Sun, causing it to be obscured from our sight.

The occurrence necessitates the perfect alignment of the Sun, the Moon, and the Earth, resulting in the Moon casting a shadow on our planet.

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During this occurrence, the Moon creates two distinct types of shadows:

  • There is one event that leads to a partial solar eclipse, where only a portion of the Sun is covered.
  • Another fascinating event is known as a total solar eclipse, where the Sun is nearly completely obscured by the Moon, leaving only a glowing ring of light in the sky.

What is the speed of its movement?

A rapid forecast predicts that the Moon’s deep shadow, known as the umbra, will swiftly traverse the Earth’s surface at an astonishing speed of over 2,500km/h (1,500mph).

That’s approximately twice the speed of sound and even faster than a bullet shot from a handgun.

As per Nasa, the speed at which eclipse shadows move varies depending on the location. At the equator, they travel at a swift 1,100mph, while near Earth’s poles, they can reach an impressive 5,000mph.

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