It is no secret that everyone is pumped for the solar eclipse on August 21st, 2017. But, why is this event so special? Because unlike a partial, a annular, or a lunar eclipse, this year we will be able to view a total solar eclipse that stretches from coast to coast on U.S. soil. The last time such an event happened was February 26, 1979—over 38 years ago. Such an event is very rare and beautiful!

However, there’s no lack of questions that come about as the solar eclipse event draws closer by the day. Some are silly, some are based in myth, and some come from genuine curiosity. Below are the top five questions about the solar eclipse answered, with sources linked at the bottom.

1. How Long does the Total Solar Eclipse Last?

The solar eclipse is estimated to last 2 minutes and 40 seconds. Though, this is just estimated. The closer towards the center line you are the better of a chance you have to take in this event. However, no one can say for sure right-on-the-dot when the solar eclipse will happen. Just that it will happen. Meaning, it would be best to get to your solar eclipse viewing spot early! Some of you might be thinking, “That’s it? I’m not going to waste my time with that!” That’s fine, but you’ll be missing an event that not only blocks out the sun, but makes nature itself get turned on its head.

2. What Happens during the Total Solar Eclipse?

Your location plays a big part in everything in the total solar eclipse, but it is common for where you stand to resemble twilight once the sun is completely covered by the moon. The birds and animals may go silent as they believe night the day has suddenly turned to night. The temperature will usually drop 10°–15° F in degree, and the brightest planets and stars will come out to shine. For a few seconds white flares will dance around the solar eclipse. The moon making it look like a black hole against the much lighter sky. Then, it will be over and won’t return for some time.

3. Will I go Blind if I look at the Total Solar Eclipse?

No, but it is not recommended to look at it without some sort of eye protection. Remember how the sun hurts your eyes, and can sometimes cause eye damage if you look at it for too long? The same reasoning applies to the total solar eclipse. Even though the sun is covered, it is still the sun and super bright. Your eyes are one of the most delicate parts of your body, and can easily burn before you even notice.

That being said, never, never, never look at the sun through a telescope! Exactly like how a magnifying glass can turn into a small focused point hot enough to burn leaves, this can happen to your eye. Worst part? You won’t even know it is happening because the inside of our eyes lack pain sensors!

Please click here for information on how to view the total solar eclipse safely.

4.Where is the Center Line for the Total Solar Eclipse?

The center line will stretch from Oregon to South Carolina. Here is a list of the ‘hot-spots’ along the center line:

Madras, Oregon................................................Around 10:20 a.m. PDT

Snake River Valley, Idaho.................................Around 11:30 a.m. MDT

Casper, Wyoming..............................................Around 11:40 a.m. MDT

Sandhills of Western Nebraska..........................Around 11:50 a.m. MDT

St. Joseph, Missouri.............................................Around   1:00 p.m. CDT

Carbondale, Illinois............................................Around    1:15 p.m. CDT

Hopkinsville, Kentucky.......................................Around    1:20 p.m. CDT

Nashville, Tennessee..........................................Around    1:30 p.m. CDT

Great Smoky Mountains National Park...........Around    2:40 p.m. EDT

Columbia, South Carolina................................Around    2:40 p.m. EDT

5. When will the next Total Solar Eclipse Happen?

The next total solar eclipse that spans across the U.S. will take place April 8th, 2024—seven years in the future. While not far away, the next one after that won’t appear for some time. Making August 21st, 2017, the best bet to make sure you don’t miss your chance to witness this magical occurrence.

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