Unplug yourself from the online world and experience a breathtaking view of the sky on Aug 21, 2017, as the U.S. falls into the path of a total solar eclipse. It is on this day that daylight suddenly turns into twilight as the moon passes between the earth and the sun.
Sounds like those in sci-fi movies? You bet, but way more spectacular.
Although the said total solar eclipse will only be visible inside in the path of totality which stretches from Oregon all the way to South Carolina; comprising of almost 14 states. Northeast Oklahoma and other parts of the country, South America, Africa and Europe can at least observe a partial total solar eclipse up in the sky.
But this won’t take that long. The complete obscuration only last for less than 3 minutes but it’ll take up to about three hours from beginning to end as the moon passes and block the sun in part or full.
For a complete guide on eclipse times on cities part of the path of totality, check out this NASA guide for our reference.
According to NASA, you’ll only get to experience a total solar eclipse on where you live once in every 375 years. Unless of course, there’ll be medical advancements that’ll stretch your life way too longer than the usual American life expectancy.
It was also almost 40 years ago since the United States witnessed a solar eclipse on February 26, 1979, and even 99 years since the last total solar eclipse on June 1, 1918, which passed from Washington to Florida.
That 1918 total solar eclipse was a lucky one for those in Oklahoma since the path of totality ran halfway between Oklahoma City and Tulsa.
Source: NASA A diagram showing Sun, Moon and Earth geometry during a solar eclipse
Now, if you’re thinking of driving off across the country just to see the totality, well, good luck. You’ll find yourself stuck in a great traffic jam as people from all over the places try to get up close experience on this once in a lifetime event. Perhaps, the Northeast Oklahoma is the nearest option you can drive to if you want a good look of the solar eclipse.
Heavy traffic towards those under the path of totality will surely be a record high.You may check out this total eclipse 2017 traffic guide from U.S Federal Highway Administration.
What to expect?
Here in Northeast Oklahoma where only partial solar eclipse happens, the moon only covers a large portion of the sun around 85 % at about 1:05 pm but it is still quite spectacular even under this circumstance.
Below is the partial solar eclipse time table in Tulsa
But of course, if you’re an astronomy junkie, you’d surely don’t want to miss the real deal.
During the totality, it is safe to gaze at the sky under the naked eye but for PARTIAL solar eclipse, you’ve got to wear an eye protection to watch it safely or it’ll cause some serious eye problems and even blindness.
Maybe it’s time that you listen to grandma when she warns you not to look at it directly.
On this day, you’ll also experience twilight in the middle of the day and some twisting light from the edges of the blocked sun. Don’t be shocked if you see your shadow in a sharper form -- like seeing skin hair and dead hair off of your shadow due to change in lighting.
The temperature around you will drop to 10 or more degrees. Keep those jackets handy ‘cause you’ll probably need it.
And the most anticipated part of all is perhaps seeing visible planets in broad daylight. Venus, which is closer to the sun, is sure to be more visible during a total solar eclipse. On the other hand, Mercury, which is the closest of all planets to orbit around the sun and never seen in this planet, will be visible in the sky shortly after the sunset. You’ll also get to see Mars up in the sky if you’re in the path of totality.
Aren’t those exciting?
Mark the 21st of this month on your calendar and watch it at a national science museum in your city. In Tulsa, you can bring your kids to places which hold a couple of events like interesting space activities and exhibits.
You may check out this link for solar eclipse events guide in Tulsa or this from Oklahoma City’s Science Museum. But if you’re in the Northeast side of Oklahoma and want to settle a scenic view at your own backyard, you may join the countdown with certain eclipse guides on this link.
Are you already excited for this upcoming historical event? Oh, you should be. Tag along your buddies and family and experience a majestic natural phenomenon for just a day. Now go get your space glasses!