NASA previews August’s total eclipse of the sun

Total eclipse graphic (NASA photo)
Total eclipse graphic (NASA photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — For the first time in nearly a century — Americans from coast to coast will get a chance to see a total eclipse of the sun without leaving their backyards.

Daylight will fade to the level of a moonlit night on August 21 as millions of Americans experience one of nature’s most awe-inspiring shows. For the first time since 1918, the dark shadow of the moon will sweep coast-to- coast across the united states, putting 14 states in the path of totality and providing a spectacular view of a partial eclipse across all 50 states.

KXAN got a special preview of the event from NASA’s Dr. Niki Ziall.

NASA knows the shape of the moon better than any other planetary body, and that data allows them to accurately predict the shape of the shadow as it falls on the face of earth. While everyone in the U.S. will see the eclipse if their local skies are clear, people standing in the path of totality completely in the moon’s shadow will see stars and planets become visible in what is normally a sunlit sky.

Reminder, the only safe way to look directly at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun is through special-purpose solar filters, such as ‘eclipse glasses’ or handheld solar viewers. Homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, are not safe for looking at the sun. Do not look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars or other optical device. Similarly, do not look at the sun through a camera, a telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device while using your eclipse glasses or handheld solar viewer  the concentrated solar rays will damage the filter and enter your eye(s), causing serious injury. Seek expert advice from an astronomer before using a solar filter with a camera, a telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device.

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