This geometry results in the sun and moon seeming to appear the same size when looked at from Earth. This line-up occurs once every 12 to 18 months. Partial solar eclipses occur when the alignment of the moon blocks only part of the sun, and these can occur more frequently. It looks like a ring of bright light bursting from the lunar disk. How to watch the eclipse safely NASA advises watching the solar eclipse through a filter that minimises ultraviolet, visible and infrared light.
Eclipse glasses can be bought online. The only time it is safe to look at the eclipse is during the phase of totality, when the moon fully obscures the sun, but this lasts for seconds so it is better to watch through a filter at all times. This is because the rods and cones in the retina are extremely sensitive to light and even a small ray of sunlight can hit thousands of these light-sensitive cells.
During the day, your iris contracts to stop too much light from entering the eye and hitting the retina. If you've ever looked straight at the sun, you'll know it can leave spots in front of your eyes.
Gazing at it for too long, such as during the eclipse, can damage your retinal cells and these spots can become permanent. Regular sunglasses do not provide enough protection and should not be used to look at the sun during the eclipse. This includes giving millions of solar eclipse glasses being distributed to libraries, free of charge.
Google has also paid for 15, eclipse glasses to be shipped directly to schools. This involves putting a small hole in a piece of paper and holding it up to the sun. Sunlight can then be streamed through this small hole onto a makeshift screen, such as a piece of paper or a wall.
If you watch this 'screen', you can see the eclipse without looking directly at the sun. Make your own pinhole camera If you can't find a pair of solar eclipse glasses, you can make a pinhole camera instead using white card or a cereal box , tin foil, tape and a pin. Cut a square into the middle of one of your pieces of card and tape tin foil over this hole.
Use a pin to make a small hole in the foil. With the sun behind you, hold up the card with the foil facing up and the image of the sun will be projected onto the second piece of card on the floor. To make the projection more defined, place the second piece of card in a shadowed area. Why is the August solar eclipse so significant? Beyond looking beautiful, and their rarity, total eclipses can be used for scientific purposes.
Learn how, where, and when to watch at https: To gather data you'll need to register to become a citizen scientist and use a thermometer to measure air temperature. The app will guide you through the steps for collecting the data points and your observations will be recorded on an interactive map. For example, studying the corona and its role in space will help astronomers understand the relationship between Earth and the sun, and offer clues to future space missions.
The scientific impact In total, NASA is funding 11 ground-based science investigations during the total solar eclipse, with three set up to study the ionosphere.
The ionosphere is an ionised, "electrified" layer of Earth's atmosphere which grows and shrinks in line with changing solar conditions. It stretches from between 50 and miles above Earth's surface. Changes to the area of the lower atmosphere, or space weather, can create disruptions in the ionosphere which, in turn, interfere with our communication and navigation signals.
The total solar eclipse will cause a sudden, but temporary, drop in the amount of extreme ultraviolet radiation hitting Earth's atmosphere from the Sun. This is expected to "trick" the ionosphere into thinking it's nighttime, at which point scientists expect it to relax.
It's the first time we'll have such a wealth of information to study the effects of this eclipse; we'll be drowning in data.
This geometry results in the sun and moon seeming to appear the same size when looked at from Earth.
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