POULSBO — The solar eclipse starts at 10:15 a.m. today.
All of North America will experience at least a partial eclipse today, NASA reported. Depending on where you live in the United States, the moon will completely or partially block out the sun for a brief period as the eclipse’s path crosses the U.S. diagonally from Oregon to South Carolina, NASA reported.
A total eclipse will cross the country from Oregon to South Carolina over the course of an hour and a half — on what is being called the path of totality — and 14 states will experience night-like darkness for approximately two minutes in the middle of the day.
According to CNN, the path of totality will be 70 miles wide. Gov. Jay Inslee’s office sent out emails cautioning people to brace for “unprecedented traffic problems” on the days surrounding the eclipse.
“A total eclipse won’t be visible from the West Coast again until 2045, when it will cross northern California ,” the email stated. “There is no sure way to predict how many Washington drivers will travel to see the total eclipse … And once the eclipse is done, return traffic is expected to be heavy into Tuesday.”
Consequently, many people in Kitsap County will probably settle for the safe and sane thing to do: watching the full eclipse on TV and maybe watching the partial eclipse for real.
NASA seems likely have the best primary coverage of the eclipse. It will be airing a four-hour show, “Eclipse Across America,” starting at 8 a.m. local time. Go to www.nasa.gov/eclipselive and you’ll be directed to the site. Viewers will see images “captured before, during, and after the eclipse by 11 spacecraft, at least three NASA aircraft, more than 50 high-altitude balloons, and the astronauts aboard the International Space Station – each offering a unique vantage point for the celestial event,” according to the site.
NASA is also inviting eclipse viewers to participate in a nationwide science experiment by collecting cloud and air temperature data and reporting it via their phones using GLOBE Observer, a free, easy-to-use app that guides citizen scientists through data collection. The Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment program is a NASA-supported research and education program that encourages students and citizen scientists to collect and analyze environmental observations. GLOBE Observer is a free, easy-to-use app that guides citizen scientists through data collection. It’s available at both the Google Play Store and Apple iTunes. Download the app and register to become a citizen scientist. The app will then tell you how to make the observations. (You will need to obtain a thermometer to measure air temperature.)
“No matter where you are in North America, whether it’s cloudy, clear or rainy, NASA wants as many people as possible to help with this citizen science project,” wrote Kristen Weaver, deputy coordinator for the project. “We want to inspire a million eclipse viewers to become eclipse scientists.”
Your observations, along with the others’, will be recorded on an interactive map.
NASA’s site provides information about how to safely photograph the eclipse. Most importantly, it discusses how to safely view the eclipse in order to avoid temporary — or even permanent — eye damage, including a link to the American Astronomical Society’s “Reputable Vendors of Solar Filters and Viewers.” The society’s site tells you which products meet the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard for such products as well as which ones are made right here in the U.S.
According to the site, “these include companies with which members of the AAS Solar Eclipse Task Force have had prior … experience as well as companies whose products have been certified safe by authorities we recognize and whose certification we have confirmed to be genuine …”