100 Days Until Totality! 87 Days Left – Technically Speaking, What is a Total Solar Eclipse?

Credit: GSFC NASA https://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/help/SEglossary.html

Astronomers use the terms magnitude and obscuration to classify each solar eclipse. Magnitude is the percentage of the Sun’s diameter that is covered by the Moon. Obscuration is the maximum amount of the Sun’s surface area that is covered up by the Moon during the eclipse. During a total solar eclipse both of these values are at 100 percent. During the solar eclipse here in Jackson (and anywhere along the line of totality) when the Moon passes in front of the Sun completely it will be 100 percent obscured (also known as totality). This is why it will be safe to remove eye protection and look at the eclipse with the naked eye during totality. The photosphere of the Sun will be completely covered, blocking out the harmful bright light. Eclipses last for hours, but only during the few minutes of totality can you look at the eclipse without eye protection. Doing this a second before or after totality will harm your eyes.

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