Who is ready for an out of this world experience? I’m talking about the total solar eclipse that will be happening Monday, August 21, 2017!
So what’s the big deal?
On this day, the moon disk will appear to completely cover the disk of the sun. The path of totality will span about 70 miles wide and total eclipse will be visible from Oregon to South Carolina—spectacular views for sure. The rest of the United States not on the path of totality will experience a partial solar eclipse. However, don’t be fooled by the distance span of the eclipse. Viewers on the totality path will only be able to witness the total eclipse for a few brief minutes.
Curious as to why the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, but the path of a solar eclipse moves from west to east? This is because the moon itself orbits Earth from west to east.
What about New Orleans?
In New Orleans, we are not on the path of totality. We will only see a partial solar eclipse, starting at 11:57am with maximum coverage happening at approximately 1:29pm. The eclipse is expected to end at 2:57pm New Orleans’ local time.
Celebrate in a Far Out Way
Hopefully this isn’t one of those Mondays where most of us have a case of the Mondays. Whether your company is having a ‘viewing’ party at the office or your child’s school sent home a note about a snack party to use the eclipse as an opportunity for a great science lesson, have some fun with it.
Make a playlist
Who doesn’t love a good music mix? Here are the songs that are at the top of my space playlist:
- Space Oddity — David Bowie
- Satellite of Love — Lou Reed
- I Wish I Was the Moon — Neko Case
- Total Eclipse of the Heart — Bonnie Tyler
- Man on the Moon — REM
- Black Hole Sun — Soundgarden
- Stellar — Incubus
- Star Wars theme song
- Countdown — Rush [Technology, high on the leading edge of life]
- Fly Me to the Moon — Frank Sinatra
- That’s Amore — Dean Martin
And, for a kid-friendly addition to the list, a throwback to my childhood record collection – The Main Street Electrical Parade. OK, so this is not really a space song, but I grew up in the early 1980s and this song always made me think of outer space.
Since the eclipse will be starting right around lunch time in New Orleans, have some fun with viewing party food and snack ideas.
- Sun Chips
- Milky Ways and Mars Bars
- Moon Pies and Star Crunch
- Astronaut Icecream
- Cheese tray (definitely include Swiss cheese!)
- Sunny Delight
- Cheese pizzas
Or just grab yourself a good ole-fashioned bag of popcorn and enjoy!
Make sure to read up on safety precautions.
- For those of us who will see the partial eclipse, don’t look directly into the sun. Grab a pair of eclipse glasses, but make sure to get them from a reputable vendor. Check out the American Astronomical Society recommended vendors.
- Supervise children using eclipse glasses or solar filters.
- Do not use sunglasses in place of eclipse glasses or solar filters.
- Do not use scratched or damaged eclipse glasses or filters. Instead, discard.
- Always wear sunscreen.
For more safety precautions to take for August 21, check out NASA’s thorough list.