QUIZ: How much do you know about solar eclipses?
VIDEO: How August’s solar eclipse will look in the Miami
RELATED: How will your pets react to the solar eclipse?
The last total solar eclipse that was visible in the contiguous United States was on Feb. 26, 1979.
#SkyWitness7 has a several resources for everything you need to know about the eclipse:
There won't be a total solar eclipse in the Miami Valley. Here's what you need to know to safely watch the Great American Eclipse.
>> RELATED: How to get your free pair of Storm Center 7 solar eclipse glasses
The Great American Eclipse will be visible across the country in August. Watch this video to learn the when the eclipse will be visible in your community.
A partial eclipse will start at 1:02 p.m. and end at 3:51 p.m. in Dayton on Aug. 21. Get more facts about the Great American Eclipse here.
Check out the WHIO Space Glossary to learn the difference between an annular, hybrid and lunar eclipse.
HAVE QUESTIONS? Ask the Storm Center 7 team through their Facebook and Twitter pages. This story will be updated daily with the latest questions from you!
An even better eclipse coming in 2024 to the Miami Valley
Q: Can I watch it with a mirror? Is the reflection safe? A: That still isn't a safe way to view the eclipse. Using a mirror reflection is just as dangerous as staring at the sun and will allow too much sunlight into your eye.
Q: What about 3D glasses from the movie that look like the solar eclipse glasses, can I use those? A: 3D glasses from the movies may look like some of the solar eclipse glasses but they too offer no protection. They aren't made of the same filter. Only ISO compliant solar eclipse glasses have the proper solar filter to directly watch the eclipse. Solar eclipse glasses reduce the amount of sunlight down to a safe level for your eyes since the sun is so bright and also produces ultraviolet radiation that can cause permanent eye damage if you look at it with the wrong equipment. Remember, multiple pairs of sunglasses won't work either. If you can't get the proper solar eclipse glasses, watch it online with us on Aug 21st from 1-4 p.m. or make a pinhole projector.
Q: If we are going to have a solar eclipse does it mean that those on the other side of earth will have a lunar eclipse? What will be happening in Australia during our solar eclipse? Do they experience it a day ahead of us? A: A lunar eclipse occurs when the sun, earth and moon align. Earth moves in between the sun and the moon, blocking sunlight to the moon's surface. This will not be the case this time around as the orbit of the moon will pass between the sun and earth creating a solar eclipse instead. Because the moon's orbit is titled, as it continues its path around the earth it will move out of the direct alignment with the sun, ending the eclipse. At the time of the eclipse in the U.S., it will be night in Australia. They will have a dark sky, but no moon as the moon is on our side of the globe. This also means it's not possible for them to have a lunar eclipse. In order for that to happen the moon would have to be on the Australia side with Earth traveling between the moon and the sun.
Q: What are chances that we will have cloudy skies on eclipse day?
A: During summer, there's always is a good chance that clouds could develop during the heat of the day. The solar eclipse will occur between 1:02 p.m. and 3:51 p.m. in Dayton. Based on historical cloudiness data from the NOAA National Center for Environmetal Information 10-year hourly climate normals dataset, there is a 20 percent chance of an overcast day. Anything less should allow for better conditions to see the eclipse at some point.
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Q: How will shadows look during the solar eclipse?
A: Your shadow on a normal day will show your general shape. During a solar eclipse, a partial one like we will see, the light from the sun will be more focused (about a sliver will remain during max eclipse). This allows the sunlight to come from a smaller source and your shadow to become more defined. According to Rick Fienberg, from the American Astronomical Society, you can see such a sharp image of your shadow that the arms on your hair will be visible. Another interesting thing you could see because we won't be in the path of totality is objects like trees casting crescent shaped shadows. Like a pinhole projector, the hole between leaves on a tree act to project the solar eclipse on the ground creating crescent shaped shadows! Here's an example from NASA's picture of the day
Q: What happens more often -- solar or lunar eclipses?
A: Solar eclipses are fairly numerous, about two to four per year, but the area on the ground covered by totality is only about 50 miles wide. In any given location on Earth, a total eclipse happens only once every hundred years or so. However, for some "lucky" locations they can occur as little as a few years apart. An example is the Aug. 21, 2017 and April 8, 2024, eclipses, which will be viewed at the same spot near Carbondale, Illinois. The eclipse will also be total in the Miami Valley in 2024. Eclipses of the Moon by the Earth's shadow are actually less numerous than solar eclipses; however, each lunar eclipse is visible from over half the Earth. At any given location, you can have up to three lunar eclipses per year, but some years there may be none. In any one calendar year, the maximum number of eclipses is four solar and three lunar.
Q: How do I know if my solar eclipse glasses are safe to use?
A: You will want to make sure you are using solar eclipse glasses or a viewfinder only, says Storm Center 7 Meteorologist Kirstie Zontini. Sunglasses, 3D movie glasses or anything else will not be safe enough to view the solar eclipse with.
When you have glasses make sure that they have an “ISO” icon on them and that they have this sequence of numbers (ISO 12312-2). You also want to check the manufacturer. Some popular companies that certify their glasses include, Rainbow Symphony, American Paper Optics, Thousand Oaks Optical or TSE 17.
Making sure you get them directly through the manufacturer, a local library or from one of the WHIO giveaways will help to ensure you indeed have the right type of solar eclipse glasses.
If you can't get glasses in time you can enjoy the eclipse by watching live videos from 1 to 4 p.m. Aug. 21 on WHIO-TV, online at whio.com and on the WHIO Facebook page. Also, learn how to make your own viewfinder here.
Q: Is it true there is another, better eclipse coming to Dayton?
A: Yes! If we miss the eclipse on Aug. 21, we won't have to wait to long to get another shot. The next eclipse will be even better for Dayton as it will be a total solar eclipse in our area. It will occur on April 8, 2024 and if the skies are clear (that's a big if), it should be spectacular as it will occur right around lunchtime! So set your alarm or mark your calendars!
Q: Are there different types of solar eclipses?
A: Yes. A total solar eclipse (like the one Aug. 21) occurs when the sun, moon and Earth are directly in line. The people in the center of the moons shadow along its path from coast to coast will see the moon completely block the sun and it will get darker for a few minutes. A partial solar eclipse occurs when the sun, moon and Earth aren't perfectly in line. This allows the moon to still obstruct the sun's surface but only part of it. Finally, an annular solar eclipse still needs a line-up of the sun, moon and earth but this time the moon is farthest from the Earth. This means that the moon looks smaller from our perspective and will cover the sun but appear to leave a ring of brightness around it. You can read more about them here.
Q: Will gravity change that day?
A: As crazy as it sounds, yes the gravitational force felt here on Earth will be different during the solar eclipse on Aug. 21. According to NASA, the average person will feel about 1.7 ounces lighter because the moon and sun will have a gravitational pull in the same direction, which will be opposite the Earth's gravitational force.
Q: How long will the solar eclipse last when watching in the Miami Valley?
A: In Dayton, the moon will begin to eclipse the sun around 1:02 p.m. Then, the maximum eclipse or when the moon will cover most of the sun (about 89 percent in Dayton) is at 2:28 p.m. The eclipse will end around 3:51 p.m. This will make the eclipse about two hours and 50 minutes from start to finish. You can get the timing of the eclipse down to the second by finding your city right here.
Q: Where is the best place within 50 miles of Dayton to see the eclipse?
A: The farther southwest you go, the greater the eclipse will be. However, there will not be much variability within 50 miles of Dayton. For example, the sun will be eclipsed by the moon by approximately 89 percent in Dayton. In Cincinnati, it will be 91 percent eclipsed. You would have to travel to southwestern Kentucky or middle Tennessee to see the total eclipse. Keep in mind, experts are warning of extremely heavy traffic on the day of the eclipse thanks to the "eclipse-chasers," so be prepared! For details on the eclipse and its start, peak and end times in your part of the Miami Valley, go to whio.com and click on #SkyWitness7
Meteorologist Kirstie Zontini talks about the timing of the eclipse
Q: What time does a solar eclipse occur?
A: A solar eclipse happens only when a new moon occurs for the month and the orbit of the moon lines up between the Earth and the sun just right to produce a shadow on the Earth. We have a new moon each month but not always a solar eclipse because of the moon's orbit. Each solar eclipse begins around sunrise at some point in the path and ends around sunset in a different location at the end of the path. Specific timing of what you see depends on your location. In Dayton, the max eclipse time will be around 2:28 p.m. The next total solar eclipse in the U.S. is April 8, 2024.
Q: What makes this a total solar eclipse?
A: The Great American Solar Eclipse on Aug. 21 will be a total eclipse, which means the sun will be completely covered by the moon. There are usually 2 and up to 5 solar eclipses every year, but they are usually not total. But on Aug. 21, parts of the country will be in the path of totality, meaning that the sun will be completely covered. In the path of totality, it will be safe to look directly at the sun. Outside of the path of totality, which is where we are, it is NOT safe to look directly at the sun.
Q: Will there be a temperature change when the solar eclipse happens?
A: Yes. As the moon moves in front of the sun, there will be a noticeable change in temperature. It will get darker and feel cooler because the sun's rays will be blocked by the moon.
Q: Can we look directly at the eclipse or do we need special glasses?
A: Because we will not be in the path of totality in the Miami Valley, it is not safe to look directly at the eclipse, even during the maximum locally. We will get about an 89 percent eclipse, meaning the moon will cover 89 percent of the sun. This means that roughly 11 percent of the sun will still shine during the maximum. The best way you can see the eclipse is with special glasses or by creating your own viewfinder.
Q: Do I need a special filter for my camera to take pictures or video of the eclipse?
A: While there are different makes and models of cameras, the short answer is yes. Most cameras are not made to shoot the sun directly. The best option is to get a filter that will fit your camera to safely shoot the eclipse. Without a filter, you run the risk of damaging your device. As for what kind of filter you need, the best thing to do is contact the manufacturer and see what filter they recommend.
Q: What is the umbra and penumbra?
A: The umbra and penumbra are different parts of the shadow created by the eclipse. In the case of the Great American Solar Eclipse, the umbra is the shadow that is darkest and is what creates the path of totality. The penumbra is what everyone outside of the path of totality in the continental United States will see during the eclipse.
Q: If we have a solar eclipse, does it mean that those on the other side of Earth have a lunar eclipse? What will be happening in Australia during our solar eclipse?
A: A lunar eclipse occurs when the sun, Earth and moon align. Earth moves in between the sun and moon, blocking sunlight to the moon. This will not be the case this time as the orbit of the moon will pass between the sun and Earth, creating a solar eclipse intead. Because the moon's orbit is tilted, as it continues its path around Earth it will move out of the direct alignment with the sun, ending the eclipse. During the eclipse in the U.S., it will be night in Australia. They will have a dark sky, but no moon as the moon is on our side of the globe. This also mean's it's not possible for them to have a lunar eclipse.
Q. What should I not do during the Great American Eclipse?
A. Here's a list of DO NOTs dor the Great American Eclipse:
- Don't look directly at the sun without the proper eye protection, even during the maximum.
- Don't photograph the eclipse without the proper filter for your camera or smartphone.
- Don't forget the times. It starts at 1:02 p.m., maxes at 2:28 p.m. and ends at 3:51 p.m. in Dayton.
- Don't spend too much time photographing the event. Take time to enjoy and take in this rare event; a lot of photos will be available on social media.
- Don't look at the eclipse while driving. This poses a danger to not only you, but to others around you.
- Don't forget to charge your device prior to the event.
- Don't forget that traffic jams may occur the afternoon, even in places that are not in the path of totality.
- Don't be sad or upset that we're not in the path of totality. We will be in April 2024.
Don’t worry about NOT seeing the eclipse if there are clouds. We have you covered with our facebook live/live stream on WHIO.com.
Q: What do I need to do to be a part of your eclipse coverage Monday?
A: We would love for anyone and everyone to be part of our eclipse coverage on Monday. You can send us your photos and videos via social media using the hashtag #SkyWitness7, tagging our pages, or emailing them to us. It's important to know though that we want to make sure everyone is safe during the eclipse, so only take direct photos or video of the sun if you have the proper filter for your camera or device. Aside from that, we want to see how you are viewing the eclipse so please send them to us. Some will be shown on our Facebook live and on WHIO-TV Ch 7!