Solar Eclipse Will Let NASA Experiment With Mars-Like Conditions

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The coast-to-coast solar eclipse, nicknamed the "Great American Eclipse," will be the first of its kind seen in 99 years and is being called "one of the events of the century".

The most recent total solar eclipse in the lower 48 of the USA was in 1979. The next time we'll see one is 2024.

Oregon Solarfest, August 17-22, Madras According to the event website, the 325 hotel rooms in the tiny town of Madras have been booked for more than two years.

A total solar eclipse can usually be seen somewhere on Earth every 18 months. It will begin its pass over the Upstate at about 1:07 p.m. and finish around 4:02 p.m.

Cameras are good for capturing the event, and telescopes and binoculars are useful for either getting a closeup look at the edges of the Moon, the surface of the Sun (during the partial eclipse), or the lines of the solar wind (during totality).

Oregonians are already hyper-aware of the eclipse, since it will make first landfall in OR, and about a 60-mile band including Lincoln City, Salem, Madras and Baker City, will be in the "path of totality". Also, just as the Sun's radiation can damage unprotected eyes, it can also damage unprotected equipment.

But during the eclipse, those Mars-like conditions will intensify due to even lower temperatures than usual and the lack of ultraviolet rays, blocked by the moon, that also don't reach Mars. This is when the moon is between the sun and the earth.

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Another total eclipse will not be visible in Hawaii this century.

If you are planning to watch the eclipse, the experts say do it safely.

On a brighter note, eclipse watching is safe when using approved special eye wear or by viewing it by looking at the shadows produced by the eclipse.

"We'll have cameras positioned throughout, and we'll have our host, Mike Massimino, in SC, which will be the last place that you will see the eclipse", Etkind said.

At 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 2, he will present an informal overview of the eclipse and take questions from the crowd at Nomad World Pub, 418 E. Wilson St., for Science on Tap-Madison.

So, be sure to check glasses before you buy them, no matter how official and legitimate they look.

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