By Ana Verayo, | January 03, 2017
The Hinode satellite captured this breathtaking images of an annular solar eclipse. (Hinode/XRT/NASA)
A super rare, total solar eclipse will be seen in most of America this year. It will be observable in 12 states from Oregon to South Carolina.
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Mark your calendars as August 21 will witness a major cosmic event, as a total solar eclipse will be visible in most of the United States. It would be the first of such event since 1979. A partial eclipse will also be visible in other parts of North America, some parts of South America, Africa, and Europe.
According to Lika Guhathakurta, the lead scientists of the Living With a Star program at NASA Headquarters in Washington, this will become the most observed, filmed and photographed eclipse in the United States. Not to mention the most studied and documented solar eclipse in human history.
A total solar eclipse occurs when the sun is 400 times bigger than the moon, but 400 times farther from Earth than the moon. This cosmic illusion will now reveal two objects in the sky appearing the same size. The moon will block the entire sun's disk and humans will get to see a mysterious, stunning sky event.
Eclipses often occur every 18 months or so in different regions of the planet, but they are often partial eclipses. Partial eclipses occur when the Moon only blocks a certain part of the solar disk. Two to five partial solar eclipses occur every year.
However, total solar eclipses are considered to be rare and special as they can occur infrequently. Guhathakurta added that a total solar eclipse is simply a breathtaking and amazing cosmic event, and it can be observed without any special viewing equipment. Also, the outer atmosphere of the sun can become visible, which is known as the corona.
Apart from this, a total solar eclipse can bring about sudden darkness, or a brief period of night time making this cosmic event even more strange and mysterious.
Guhathakurta said that during a total solar eclipse, a 360-degree sunset will suddenly appear around you including stars. Temperatures would also drop, and animals will turn on their nocturnal behavior.
This total solar eclipse will begin from the coastal region of Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina, spanning 70 miles wide. However, the longest total solar eclipse will be seen in Carbondale, Illinois. The eclipse will last two minutes and 40 seconds, according to NASA.
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