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Friday, August 18, 2017

Quick Guide to the Solar Eclipse of the Century


Friends viewing a solar eclipse

The last time we saw a total solar eclipse was in 1979, almost 40 years ago. On Monday, August 21st, we will again see a full eclipse that will be visible from coast to coast across the United States. 

What is a Total Solar Eclipse? 

A total eclipse occurs when the moon completely covers the sun, turning the sky dark for a short period of time. This will also be the first ever solar eclipse only visible from the United States, deeming it “The Great American Eclipse.” 

Why Are Total Eclipses So Irregular? 

Total eclipses are so rare because it requires three separate entities (the sun, moon, and earth) in differing orbital patterns to line up together at the exact same time. The average total eclipse from one specific spot on earth is only visible every 375 years. 

Where and When Can You See the Eclipse? 

The total eclipse will only be seen through the states that pass along the path of totality. But don’t worry if you don’t live along the totality path, because a partial eclipse will be visible in all other states. The first point of contact of the total eclipse will be in Lincoln Beach, Oregon at about 9:00am, PDT. The total eclipse will then end near Charleston, South Carolina, just before 3:00pm, EDT. 

How Long Will It Last? 

It takes approximately 3 hours for the moon to completely pass over the sun, and the total eclipse itself will last just under 3 minutes from any viewing point along the path of totality. So make sure to be prepared for this phenomenon that only lasts a few minutes! If you’re really anxious to see the eclipse, you may be interested in how the solar eclipse will look from anywhere in the U.S. 

How Should You Prepare to View the Eclipse? 

Trying to look directly at the sun during the eclipse is unsafe for your eyes, and will damage them. Normal sunglasses are also not enough to block the harmful rays, so make sure to take precautions if you want to participate in the phenomenon. The best way to view the eclipse without harming yourself is to look through special solar filter eclipse glasses, or you can always build a pinhole camera and view the eclipse indirectly. 

The Power of the Sun 

With the recent interest in the solar eclipse, it’s a good time to think about the sun’s power as a renewable energy source. The utilization of solar energy is growing rapidly across the U.S., though it’s probably the most untapped energy source that we have access to. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, less than 1% of the electricity on the grid came from solar energy in 2016. Yet, in one hour, the sun shining on on the planet’s surface creates enough energy to power the entire world’s economy for a whole year. With more adoption of solar, and innovations in its technology taking place every day, the future is bright for this unlimited resource! 

CleanChoice energy supplies 100% renewable energy to our customers from solar and wind power. Learn how you can make the switch to clean energy today to contribute less air pollution and cleaner air for you and your neighbors.


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