Space is an amazing thing, and every once in a great while, it graces us with something particularly special. Early Friday morning, residents in the North Atlantic region will be able to witness a total solar eclipse, a rare occurrence in which the moon completely blocks out the sun, leaving only a halo of light called the corona. But just because you don't live in the Faroe Islands, where the eclipse will be most visible, doesn't mean that you have to miss out on one of Mother Nature's grandest spectacles — there are still a few ways to see Friday's total solar eclipse from the comfort of your own bed (because face it — unless you're a super-early bird, that's probably where you'll be).
Reports Space.com, "weather permitting," you should be able to track the eclipse in real time using live-stream technology out of the Slooh Community Observatory. Beginning at 4:30 a.m. EDT, viewers will be able to watch the 2.5 hour event webcast with their counterparts across the world, despite many being thousands of miles from the eclipse's limited path of totality (the sweeping area of the globe in which the sun's light is completely blocked from view).
Solar eclipses in general aren't altogether uncommon and usually occur a few times a year. Even rare total eclipses like the one happening on Friday occur more often than most people think (about once a year to once every two years). The reason they cause such a ruckus is that their scope is limited.
"Total eclipses choose where they want to go and you have to chase them," explained David Baron, eclipse hunter and former science editor at The World, a global radio news program, in an interview on Thursday. Baron, who has traveled the globe in search of the perfect eclipse, admitted that though the road may be long, the journey is absolutely worth it.
It really is like standing on another planet and looking at an alien sky. Where the sun is supposed to be is a glorious ring of light. It looks like a wreath of silvery thread. ... It connects you in a way to the solar system, to the universe, like nothing else has for me and that’s what gets people hooked.
Although the moon passes in front of the sun once a month, its shadow only falls directly in line with the sun's direct plane a few times a year, given that the earth's orbit around the sun is actually tilted 5.1 degrees, reports Vox. And even though the sun is 400 times larger than the moon itself, it's also around 400 times farther away, making it seem like the two are the same size in the sky. When all the numbers align perfectly, a solar or lunar eclipse occurs.
Even without all of the exciting scientific verbiage (don't worry, that was sarcasm), Friday's event is sure to be a memorable one. Explained David Moore, editor of Astronomy Ireland magazine, in an interview with the Irish Times, "It is a fantastic spectacle of nature and we won’t see another eclipse like this until 2026. ... It is a very rare event and people are always fascinated about natural events."
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