Heavy traffic delays expected for solar eclipse

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That unbelievable chance to witness a rare event is coming up fast - the first full solar eclipse in almost a century will stretch coast to coast on August 21.

The eclipse of the Sun will travel a narrow path across the entire United States for the first time since 1918. Those on the outskirts - well into Canada, Central America and even the top of South America - will be treated to a partial eclipse.

When the moon passes between Earth and the sun, and scores a bull's-eye by completely blotting out the sunlight, that's a total solar eclipse.

"This is a very rare event", Brau said.

"Just before totality - if you have a good view of the horizon - look west for the approaching shadow", Jones said in the video. The Spokesman Review reports 19 of these handsome federal parks just happen to be within the path of totality and are prepared to welcome skywatchers.

Being able to properly view an eclipse has been so important to Schatz that, for the 1979 eclipse, he and his colleagues crafted thousands of pairs of "sun peeps", a cardboard and Mylar version of the eclipse glasses that are sold today. Sunglasses are not safe to wear when looking at the sun during an eclipse. The eclipse will last longest near Carbondale, Illinois: two minutes and 44 seconds.

In Louisiana, the eclipse will block out about 80 percent of the sun's light. Special eclipse glasses can protect your eyes.

The death of Christ was said to have been followed by a period of darkness during the day, which some historians believe may have been an eclipse that took place in 29 CE. One that is more for the casual eclipse enthusiast, so someone can bring their kids, they can learn about the eclipse, and also listen to music and do different activities. Those in the path of totality could see the mercury drop as much as 20 degrees.

This is only possible due to a happy coincidence of size and distance: while the radius of the Sun is approximately 400 times that of the Moon, the Sun's distance from Earth is also about 400 times the Moon's. But an event like this gets people excited and gives them the opportunity to question: "why is the moon getting in front of the sun?"

The Solar Eclipse will begin on August 14 at 9:04 a.m., with the total eclipse occurring at 10:15 a.m.

If you look directly at the sun before or after totality, Davis said that patients might experience changes in color, the addition of wavy lines to vision, loss of central vision and watery eyes.

"I did not know there was going to be a total solar eclipse, I just learned about it five minutes ago and I'm pretty excited now", said Luke Mouton, a student at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri. At this point, the sun is hidden from view, but still visible will be the sun's faint outer atmosphere-the corona-which may or may not show colors, sometimes tones of red or green light.

If nothing else, viewers can watch the shadow cross the sun by sticking a pinhole in a paper plate and letting the beams stream through the tiny hole onto a piece of paper or a screen on the wall.