On Monday, August 21, parts of the United States will experience a total solar eclipse – when the Moon perfectly covers the disc of the Sun. The last total eclipse to traverse the entire United States from coast-to-coast occurred on June 8, 1918.
In the New York City region, the rare event will begin at 1:23 p.m., with the maximum observable eclipse at 2:44 p.m. In the metropolitan New York area, the Moon will cover about three-quarters of the Sun. The event will end at 4:00.
The Vanderbilt, which is closed on Mondays, has not planned programs related to the eclipse as it can be viewed safely from anywhere on Long Island with the correct equipment.
Dave Bush, technical and production coordinator of the Vanderbilt Reichert Planetarium, said “Long Islanders will not be able to witness the spectacular sight of totality, but they will be able to see a partial eclipse using the right equipment – eclipse glasses or special solar filters for telescopes and binoculars.
Those directly under the full shadow of the Moon will experience “one of the most impressive and awe-inspiring natural phenomena known to humankind,” he said.
“Stars come out in the middle of the day, temperatures drop immediately, strange shadows move across the ground, a red-orange horizon climbs into the sky, and the incredible outer atmosphere of the Sun will be on full display. The experience will last only a couple of minutes, but the impression it leaves on its spectators typically lasts a lifetime.”
This link will take you to the NASA eclipse page, where you can watch live streaming video of the event:
“Watching the Moon slide slowly over the face of the Sun is still quite a sight,” Bush said. “A partial eclipse often gives viewers a sense of scale and of our place in space with regard to our two closest celestial neighbors.
“The Sun is an astounding 93 million miles away. By comparison, our Moon is a mere 250,000 miles way. What are the odds that these two objects are the same exact size from our vantage point here on Earth? By understanding a little bit about distances and size, and by watching the complete partial eclipse, viewers might realize just how quickly the Moon is moving in orbit around Earth – 2,288 miles per hour!”