The Great American Solar Eclipse of 2017

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What’s all the fuss about?
“A total solar eclipse is when the moon moves between the sun and Earth, lasting for up to about three hours from beginning to end, according to NASA. The lunar shadow will darken the sky, temperatures will drop and bright stars will appear at a time that is normally broad daylight. Retired NASA astrophysicist and photographer Fred Espenak said the experience usually lasts for just a couple minutes, but it’s truly out of this world.

“It is unlike any other experience you’ve ever had,” Espenak, popularly known as Mr. Eclipse, told ABC News. “It’s a visceral experience; you feel it. The hair on your arms, on the back of your neck stand up. You get goosebumps.”

“You have to be there,” he added.

Espenak said a total solar eclipse can last as long as seven minutes. For the Aug. 21 eclipse, NASA anticipates the longest period when the moon obscures the sun’s entire surface from any given location along its path to last about two minutes and 40 seconds.” – Excerpt from ABC News

This year’s solar eclipse promises to be big one, with several major cities being directly in the path of totality, these cites are anticipating an influx of millions of visitors from others states and even other countries. One of the big reasons this is such an event is that the next eclipse in the US won’t be until April 8th 2024, while the next one to cross the contiguous United States (like this years) won’t be until August 12th 2045, or in another 28 years.

Fun Fact: The last total solar eclipse visible in the Connecticut/New York Area was January 24, 1925, almost 92 years ago.

While Connecticut is not lucky enough to be in the path of totality this time, the LHAAC will still be holding an eclipse party for the partial eclipse that will be visible, please note that at no time can you look directly at the sun during a partial eclipse without special equipment, however, club members will have a variety of filtered telescopes and cameras available to view it with.

For more details on the equipment required to view the sun safely, astronomy retailer OptCorp has some tips and videos for how to view and photograph the eclipse safely, note, this list does not include squinting or using smoked glass neither of which are safe methods, please exercise caution and good judgment, you eyes are very important.

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Litchfield Hills Amateur Astronomy Club