What is the Great American Eclipse?

by | Aug 10, 2016 | Eclipses

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As you surf the World Wide Web you’ve probably come across information on a “Great American Eclipse” which is coming soon. In fact, the closer it gets to August 2017, the more things you are likely to see and hear. So what is this big event coming up and why are so many people excited? Let’s take a closer look and see.

First US Total Eclipse in Nearly 40 Years

The last time a solar eclipse was visible in the United States, Jimmy Carter was president. In addition, the 1979 eclipse was not memorable as only five US states were in the path and the weather was not good for viewing, so many people may not even count this as a total eclipse of the sun. If you are counting, the last total American eclipse was 1970 and this was many years ago.

The Earth, Sun and Moon Must Be in Perfect Alignment

Total solar eclipses are so rare, because the earth, moon and sun have to be in the right place at the right time or it’s not going to happen. When it does, it’s usually somewhere on the planet besides the United States. Think about this, in all the vastness of space, what are the odds the moon will get between the earth and sun to block the view from down here? It happens but not very often and this is especially true with an American eclipse.

Eclipses Have Captured Our Imaginations for Thousands of Years

Over recorded history of mankind, solar eclipses were mostly something to be feared. Often times, it was believed a supernatural power was involved. More than three thousand years ago an eclipse of enormous magnitude (nearly six and one half minutes) occurred in China. At this time eclipses were seen as omens and the emperor would try his best to rescue the sun from this danger. This included special rituals and avoiding eating meat of any kind.

According to New Testament writings, the sky went dark for a very long time at the time of the crucifixion. Historians believe there was a total eclipse during the time period and could explain the reason for this phenomenon.

Today We Know Better

Modern science and technology has removed the mystery from total solar eclipses but not the excitement. There is still something intriguing about such a rare occurrence and this is an event which should not be missed if possible. Make sure to buy approved viewers before the Great American eclipse and remember to have fun, because it could be some time before the next one.

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