Solar Eclipse 2017: Doomsday for some, mere scientific feat for others
The Solar Eclipse 2017 will take place on August 21. More than seven million people from across the globe are expected to be in the various cities in the United States of America to witness the event.
For long many have said that a total solar eclipse would mean the end of the world. Many have already termed it as the Apocalypse week. Find out why many feel that a total solar eclipse would mean the end of the world.
Several evangelist groups in the US have already said that the eclipse is a sign of an impending acocalypse. A Christian prophecy website called Unsealed says that it will spark the beginning of the so-called Tribulation, a seven-year period in which 75% of the world's population will be destroyed.
Back in the 7th Century BC, the passing of a total solar eclipse over the Greek island of Paros prompted the poet Archilocus to write: "Nothing in the world can surprise me now. For Zeus, the father of the Olympian, has turned midday into black night by shielding light from the blossoming Sun, and now dark terror hangs over mankind. Anything may happen."
In the 8th Century BC many astronomical scholars said that these were celestial mechanisms. However there were only a handful of them who believed these scholars. For 2,000 years since, people have always latched on to the ancient belief that eclipses were the work of God.
Wading away evil
During an eclipse many in ancient times undertook various activities in what they called as 'wading away the demon.' In Western Asia, the myth was that the dragon was devouring the sun. In China, it was said that a heavenly dog was biting the sun. In Peru, it was described as a puma while the Vikings said that it was undertaken by two wolves.
How long will it be?
This event is a solar eclipse in which the moon passes between the sun and Earth and blocks all or part of the sun for up to about three hours, from beginning to end, as viewed from a given location. For this eclipse, the longest period when the moon completely blocks the sun from any given location along the path will be about two minutes and 40 seconds. The last time the contiguous U.S. saw a total eclipse was in 1979.
When can solar eclipse be seen?
The time would vary depending on your location. Never look at the sun directly without proper protection except during totality. However, there are many ways to safely view an eclipse of the sun including direct viewing - which requires some type of filtering device and indirect viewing where you project an image of the sun onto a screen. Both methods should produce clear images of the partial phase of an eclipse.
Where, when and how can the Solar Eclipse 2017 be seen:
You can see a partial eclipse, where the moon covers only a part of the sun, anywhere in North America. To see a total eclipse, where the moon fully covers the sun for a short few minutes, you must be in the path of totality. The path of totality is a relatively thin ribbon, around 70 miles wide, that will cross the U.S. from West to East. The first point of contact will be at Lincoln Beach, Oregon at 9:05 a.m. PDT. Totality begins there at 10:16 a.m. PDT. Over the next hour and a half, it will cross through Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and North and South Carolina. The total eclipse will end near Charleston, South Carolina at 2:48 p.m. EDT. From there the lunar shadow leaves the United States at 4:09 EDT. Its longest duration will be near Carbondale, Illinois, where the sun will be completely covered for two minutes and 40 seconds.
Everyone in North America plus parts of South America, Africa, and Europe will see at least a partial solar eclipse, while the thin path of totality will pass through portions of 14 states. You could check out this interactive eclipse map from NASA to see the solar eclipse 2017.