The Great American Eclipse of 2017 – Rainbow Research Optics

The Great American Eclipse of 2017

The Great American Eclipse

On August 21, 2017, America will see it’s first total eclipse since May 28, 1900. It’s incredibly rare to have a total eclipse pass over North America. Most are lucky to see an event like this just once in a lifetime.

Witnessing an event like this reminds us of our humility, and the overwhelming power of the sun. It makes us look up in awe and wonder about the cosmos.

So, grab your ISO 12312-2 certified viewer, request August 28th off from work, and lets experience this amazing event together!

What is a total solar eclipse?

A total solar eclipse is when the new moon comes between the Sun and Earth and casts the darkest part of its shadow called the umbra.

How can a total eclipse be used for science? 

Total eclipses aren’t just fun to witness, they provide opportunities for science. Throughout history eclipses influenced important scientific discoveries. Such as the discovery of the element Helium. NASA funds special projects during eclipses and so do many universities.

The Solar Corona

One of the coolest parts of viewing a total solar eclipse is, you can see the suns outer atmosphere (the solar corona) without special equipment. When viewed properly, the corona glows brilliantly around the moon, glimmering out into space.

Which parts of the country will it pass over directly?

The shadow of the eclipse will start off in the northwest and head towards South Carolina as seen below.

Courtesy of NASA

Best Cities To View From

Madras, Oregon
Snake River Valley, Idaho
Casper, Wyoming
Sandhills of Western Nebraska
St. Joseph, Missouri
Cabondale, Illonois
Hopkinsville, Kentucky
Nashville, Tennessee
Great Smoky Mountains Natl. Park
Columbia, South Carolina

What if I’m not in the direct path?

Don’t get bummed out if you live outside the umbra, you will still get to enjoy it. Depending on how far you are from the path you will see a different fraction of the eclipse. You will not see the full eclipse if you are not in the direct path – only a partial view. It’s still going to be cool! So make sure to mark your calendar and tell your kids.

I recommend you travel as close to the path as possible for the best experience.

Don’t Get Burned!

As redundant as it is to say, never look directly at the sun, even if it is during an eclipse. It could cause severe damage and complete blindness. Your eclipse glasses or handheld viewer MUST have the ISO 12312-2 safety standard logo directly on it. If your viewer doesn’t have this, throw it away now. The risk isn’t worth it. Same goes for photography equipment, be careful about using filters that aren’t appropriate.

Photographing the event

You can take pictures of a total eclipse, providing you take certain precautions. Even if the sun is 99.9% covered by the moon, the remaining .1% could damage your eyes or camera lens. You will need a proper solar filter to get the job done. Filters passing light with a wavelength of 656 nm are suggested.  You can find many decent solar filters by searching online.

Article by: Jay Hanna

If you work in the optics industry, contact RROI for custom optics made to meet your exact requirements. We have over 22 years’ experience and offer the most competitive pricing with the highest quality standards.

Here are some other articles about eclipses you may like:
How a solar eclipse first proved Einstein right
Myths and superstitions around solar eclipses