During the fall of 2017, Jackson was lucky enough to see a total solar eclipse. We were able to see a solar eclipse when the Moon was located directly in a straight line between the Sun and the Earth. an alignment is known as syzygy on August 21st, 2017. Here in Jackson the Moon blocked out the Sun’s light completely, leaving us in its dark shadow known as the umbra. The small area on the Earth that was inside the Umbra is known as the line of totality.
When the Moon completely covered the Sun here in Jackson, there was about two minutes and seventeen seconds of totality. The rest of North America was able to view a partial eclipse, this partial shadow is known as the penumbra. The total solar eclipse of 2017 was special for the folks living in the US because it was visible from the West Coast to the East Coast through 12 States.
How to View an Eclipse
Even with the Sun partially covered by the Moon, it is still dangerous to look at directly. Looking directly at the sun during a solar eclipse can cause solar Retinopathy. In some cases the cells in the retina have been permanently damaged. Regular sunglasses are NOT adequate protection for viewing an eclipse. To view the sun you will need a special pair of glasses. These glasses will block out enough of the light to view the sun safely. Solar eclipse glasses are made with filters that block out more light, Regular sunglasses allow too much light to pass through.
There are some atmospheric changes that take place during a total solar eclipse that can be studied, such as temperature and associated wind speeds. There is some evidence that local weather has been changed by a total solar eclipse. Also, the Sun’s outer atmosphere, the corona, becomes visible to the unaided eye. Usually that part of the Sun’s atmosphere is obscured by the much brighter photosphere, which is the part of the Sun that we can see with our eyes. Even the most sophisticated instruments astronomers use today to study the corona, called coronagraphs, are unable to get a full view of the corona without the Moon’s assistance during a total solar eclipse.
When is the Next Solar Eclipse?
The next solar eclipse that will be visible from the United States will be October 14 2023. The next total solar eclipse visible from the United States will be on April 4th 2024. This eclipse will be special because it will be the last time the line of totality passes over the united states until 2044. The line of totality will begin on the south pacific ocean and will pass over Mexico, United States and Canada.
As we approach the upcoming solar eclipses we will announce any viewing events we might hold so please check back with us. You don’t have to wait for a special event to enjoy the night stars at night. We are always holding public and private stargazing tours. If you have any questions about what we do, comments or anything you’d like to share, please contact us. We want to hear from you!