The Prairie Astronomy Club and Hyde Observatory are in the process of developing a guide to the August 21, 2017 eclipse. See below for frequently asked questions.
The Prairie Astronomy Club is NOT planning a group event because most of our club members have their own plans for eclipse viewing.
We recommend reviewing the following resources:
Fred Espanak’s Eclipse page: http://eclipsewise.com/solar/SEcirc/2001-2100/SE2017Aug21Tcirc.html
For Nebraska see: http://www.eclipsewise.com/solar/SEnews/TSE2017/TSE2017states/TSE2017stateNE.html
and Fred’s NEAF Talk. It covers everything you should know when selecting an eclipse viewing site.
Also NebraskaEclipse.com provides information about events within Nebraska.
To increase your clear-viewing odds, you might consult the featured map and find a convenient destination with a historically low chance (more blue) of thick clouds overhead during totality.
Here’s another nice google map overlay that can be used to plan your eclipse viewing.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is a total solar eclipse?
A solar eclipse happens when the moon moves between you and sun, covering it completely for a very short time.
Q: What will I see at a total solar eclipse?
The entire sky will darken and you’ll be able to see the stars and the beautiful corona that surrounds the sun. The horizon will glow with a 360-degree sunset, the temperature drops, and day turns into night. It’s one of the most beautiful things you can ever see on earth.
You’ll be able to look right at the sun only when it’s completely covered. AT ALL OTHER TIMES, though – you must use special solar viewing glasses (also known as “eclipse glasses”) whenever the sun isn’t completely eclipsed. and shows you Stars come out,
Q: Aren’t these pretty common?
Well, one happens about every year or every other year, somewhere on earth. However, you have to be situated in a very narrow strip of land (called the ‘path of totality’) if you want to see the total phase of the eclipse. Otherwise, all you see (with your eclipse glasses, of course!) is a pretty boring partial eclipse. And that strip of land is generally VERY far off the beaten path – like Mongolia, or the Sahara desert, or the ocean somewhere. Very few people (as a percentage of the overall population) have ever seen a total solar eclipse.
Q: Wasn’t there just an eclipse of the sun in the USA not too many years ago?
The only total eclipses that have happened in the last 40 years in the US were in 1979 (in the northwest part of the country only) and 1991 (Hawaii only). Anything else you saw was only a partial (and there have been lots of these, like on Christmas Day 2000) or an annular eclipse (such as the one on May 10, 1994). Those are NOTHING compared to the absolutely amazing spectacle of a total eclipse!!!
Q: Will the eclipse look better through a telescope or binoculars?
NEVER LOOK DIRECTLY AT THE SUN WITH, ESPECIALLY WITH BINOCULARS OR A TELESCOPE UNLESS YOU HAVE SPECIALIZE EQUIPMENT AND YOU KNOW WHAT YOU’RE DOING. You will do instant, irreparable damage to your eyes and could blind yourself.
Q: Where is the best location to see the eclipse?
Although the entire country will at least see a partial eclipse of the sun, to see the total eclipse, you must be in the path of totality. The path of totality is about 70 miles wide and will run the entire length of the country, crossing Nebraska from the Wyoming boarder, to Fall City.
You can see the total eclipse any place in the path of totality. However, the closer you are to the center line the longer the eclipse will be for you.
Q: I live in the path! Can I watch it from my house?
Absolutely!! You are incredibly lucky, and you should invite lots of friends over. An eclipse is even better if shared with a few hundred of your closest friends!
Q: What time will the eclipse happen where I am?
All you have to do to find out is to visit Xavier Jubier’s wonderful interactive Google map. (This link will take you to our page of instructions on how to use it.)
Q: Why does the sun have more damaging radiation during an eclipse than at any other time?
This is a myth. The sun always has an abundance of damaging radiation and is harmful to look out without the proper equipment. However, people are apt to look at the sun during an eclipse than on a normal day, so you’ll hear more stories about eye damage during an eclipse.