Aired Monday, 21 August 2017, 9:00 PM ET
The Planets this Week: August 20 - 26, 2017
The astro headline of the week, month and year is the total Solar Eclipse in Leo on August 21st. Everybody from coast-to-coast is a buzz with this rare event. The last time we had a total Solar Eclipse across the USA was nearly 100 years ago. People from all over the country are ready to view this occurrence.
A solar eclipse can only occur during a New Moon, when the Moon passes directly between the Earth and the Sun to create a ‘Moon sandwich’ effect that gives the visual illusion of an eclipse.
There are four types of eclipses that can be seen from Earth. The most dramatic is a ‘total eclipse,’ which happens when the Sun is completely superimposed by the disc of the Moon, leaving only a bright corona shining behind the Moon. In order to see a total eclipse, you must be in the direct path of the Sun-and-Moon alignment. An ‘annular eclipse,’ in which the Sun and Moon are exactly in line but the Moon is smaller than the Sun, shows a bright ring surrounding the outline of the Moon. A ‘hybrid eclipse’ is in between a total and annular eclipse. At some points on the Earth it appears as a total eclipse, but at other locations, it appears to be annular. A ‘partial eclipse’ occurs when the Sun and Moon are not exactly in line, and the Moon only partially obscures the Sun. The Sun looks like a bite has been taken out of it.
Solar eclipses last only a few minutes and should always be viewed with protective glasses. Never look directly at the Sun with the naked eye, because eye damage may result — and quickly! Since Earthlings are dependent on the Sun’s rays for light, warmth and agriculture, it’s no wonder that common folk have historically feared eclipses, when the Sun appears to be eaten up by an invisible, but incredibly powerful, mysterious being.
Tune in on Monday 6pm PT/9pm ET to find out more…