This summer will bring nature’s greatest spectacle to more Americans than ever in history when day turns into night from sea to shining sea.
On August 21 the shadow of the moon will sweep across the United States from Oregon to South Carolina, plunging a wide swath of the country into darkness and thrilling everyone in the path with a majestic sight: a total eclipse of the sun.
Michael Chriss, a University of Arizona astronomy professor, will discuss this rare event in a 3:30 p.m. lecture on Wednesday (May 17) in the Great Room at the Arizona Senior Academy. The talk is free and open to the public.
People from all over the United States, as well as around the world, will be flocking to be somewhere in the path of darkness to witness this celestial event.
The whole continent will experience a partial eclipse lasting 2 to 3 hours. Halfway through the event, anyone within a roughly 70-mile-wide path from Oregon to South Carolina will experience a brief total eclipse, when the moon completely blocks the sun’s bright face for up to 2 minutes 40 seconds, turning day into night and making visible the otherwise hidden solar corona — the sun’s outer atmosphere and one of nature’s most awesome sights. Bright stars and planets will become visible as well.
And while Arizona is south of the path of darkness, a partial solar eclipse will still be visible here (see chart).
Written by Michael Chriss, Academy Village Volunteer