Marylanders may not be in the direct path of the total solar eclipse, but our view isn’t too shabby.
On Aug. 21, the Free State is afforded a partial solar eclipse with only a crescent shape of the sun peeking out. The 70-mile-wide dark shadow of the total eclipse is expected to sweep from Oregon to South Carolina, according to NASA.
The countdown for Maryland’s view of the eclipse begins at 1:18 p.m., peaks at 2:42 p.m. and ends at 4:01 p.m., according to timeanddate.com.
“It’s literally the difference between day and night,” said Rick Fienberg of the American Astronomical Society in a news release.
“Unless you know that a partial solar eclipse is happening, you might not notice it. A total solar eclipse is impossible to miss, though, because daylight fades—and subsequently returns—astonishingly quickly.”
This total solar eclipse is the first one to touch the continental United States since 1979 and the first to travel from coast to coast since 1918. Because the eclipse is visible exclusively from the continental U.S., it has been dubbed t the Great American Eclipse or All-American Eclipse.
Even though a partial eclipse is expected, spectators are warned to not look at it without proper eyewear or a viewer.
“Sunlight focused by the optics will burn right through the filters and injure your eyes,” said Angela Speck, professor of astronomy at the University of Missouri, in a news release.
When the moon blocks the sun, people should expect the unexpected. Bright stars and planets shine forth in a twilight-blue sky. Pastel hues of sunset glow around the horizon. The temperature drops noticeably. Birds and animals behave as if night has fallen, according to NASA experts.
The continental U.S. is expected another total solar eclipse in 2024 when it travels from Texas to Maine. The year 2045 marks the next coast-to-coast total solar eclipse from California to Florida.
For more information on the eclipse, visit eclipse.aas.org.
— Therese Umerlik | Editor