Mark your calendars; the solar eclipse of 2017 is upon us! On August 21st, what some people are calling ‘The Great American Eclipse’, will take place on our home planet, Earth. Although solar eclipses occur between 2 to 5 times a year, what makes this Eclipse special is that it is a TOTAL solar eclipse of the Sun. New York City is not in the Path of Totality – the only area where a total eclipse can be fully seen; this time around is it a sloped horizontal line from Portland, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina—but that is not an excuse for this phenomenon to be overlooked!
The last total solar eclipse was on June 8th, 1918, crossing the United States in a similar path of totality as the upcoming eclipse. A solar eclipse happens when the Moon passes between the Earth and the Sun, casting areas of the Earth’s surface in darkness. Lunar Eclipses are when the Earth passes between the Moon and the Sun; these are much more common.
People are flocking to areas in America in the path of totality, such as Carbondale, Illinois; Hopkinsville, Kentucky; Idaho Falls, Idaho; and Jefferson City, Missouri. From West to East, this eclipse will last less than 10 hours in the United States, with its totality lasting only 2 minutes and 40 seconds. Nevertheless, many towns and cities in the United States’ path of totality have been prepping for this event for months.
In 1955 two families in Kelly, Kentucky claimed they encountered aliens on their farm. This event was widely debated at the time, and continued on to become folklore of the town. Every year the town holds a celebration called ‘The Little Green Men Days’ on the anniversary of the incident and this year it is coinciding with the total solar eclipse in the United States. Many believers do not regard this as serendipitous, but believe it to finally be the time that these aliens will return to Earth. The Little Green Men Days is anticipated to be a huge four-day festival this year, with visitors and tourists from all over the world flocking to what N.A.S.A. has named one of the best places in America to see the eclipse.
The American Museum of Natural History is hosting a screening on August 21st in the Hayden Planetarium of NASA’s live broadcast of the total solar eclipse. There will also be events, screenings, and viewing parties at the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, Hotel Americano, Pioneer Works, City Vineyard and many more venues in and around New York City. At about 2:44 PM, New York City will experience the peak of totality at about 71%; we will not be completely blacked out, or have as great of visibility as those in the path of totality.
This is an incredible event, and one that should not be overlooked! The next total solar eclipse that will have a path of totality in New York City is predicted to be September 14th, 2099.
Have I caught your interest? Here are some links to more information about the upcoming eclipse, and folklore and history of past eclipses:
A. (n.d.). Hayden Special Event: Total Solar Eclipse. Retrieved August 17, 2017, from http://www.amnh.org/learn-teach/adults/hayden-planetarium-programs/hayden-special-event-total-solar-eclipse/
Bakich, M. (2014, August 5). 25 facts you should know about the August 21, 2017, total solar eclipse. Retrieved August 17, 2017, from http://cs.astronomy.com/asy/b/astronomy/archive/2014/08/05/25-facts-you-should-know-about-the-august-21-2017-total-solar-eclipse.aspx
Finefield, K. (2017, August 16). Looking to the Sky: Solar Eclipse 2017. Retrieved August 17, 2017, from http://blogs.loc.gov/picturethis/2017/08/looking-to-the-sky-solar-eclipse-2017/?loclr=eaptb
Future eclipses. (n.d.). Retrieved August 17, 2017, from https://www.greatamericaneclipse.com/future/
Gajanan, M. (2017, August 16). The Next Solar Eclipse: Eclipse Maps for the Next 50 Years. Retrieved August 17, 2017, from http://time.com/4897581/total-solar-eclipse-years-next/
Hall, S. (2017, August 16). Solar Eclipse: A Moment of Awe, Wonder, and Belief. Retrieved August 17, 2017, from http://blogs.loc.gov/folklife/2017/08/solar-eclipse-awe-wonder-and-belief/?loclr=eaftb
Hersher, R. (2017, August 16). Here's What You Need To Know About The Total Solar Eclipse. Retrieved August 17, 2017, from http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/08/16/541132645/heres-what-you-need-to-know-about-the-total-solar-eclipse
N. (n.d.). Retrieved August 17, 2017, from https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/
N. (n.d.). [Path of totality United States for total solar eclipse 2017]. Retrieved August 17, 2017, from http://www.eclipse2017.org/2017/graphics/a_rev.jpg
N. (2016, March 8). [Total Solar Eclipse, Indonesia]. Retrieved August 17, 2017, from https://img.purch.com/w/660/aHR0cDovL3d3dy5zcGFjZS5jb20vaW1hZ2VzL2kvMDAwLzA1My84ODcvb3JpZ2luYWwvanVzdGluLW5nLXRvdGFsLXNvbGFyLWVjbGlwc2UtbWFyY2gtMjAxNi1jb21wb3NpdGUuSlBH
News, C. (2017, August 13). Preparing for the Great American Eclipse of 2017. Retrieved August 17, 2017, from https://www.cbsnews.com/news/preparing-for-the-great-american-eclipse-of-2017/
Picht, J. (2017, August 16). Where to watch the solar eclipse in NYC. Retrieved August 17, 2017, from https://www.timeout.com/newyork/blog/where-to-watch-the-solar-eclipse-in-nyc-081617
Wall Street Journal Video. (2017, August 15). Aliens and the Eclipse: It's All Happening in Kentucky. Retrieved from http://www.wsj.com/video/aliens-and-the-eclipse-it-all-happening-in-kentucky/DCFEF84C-F833-444E-A12B-9D490D9A9AAB.html?mod=djemMostPopVideo_h
Wall Street Journal Video (2017. August 11). The 'Great American Eclipse': What to Expect on Aug. 21. Retrieved from http://www.wsj.com/video/the-great-american-eclipse-what-to-expect-on-aug-21/FF61157D-91D0-4CB0-8005-D8CE905D1F6F.html?mod=djemMostPopVideo_h