About two weeks ago, a colleague at work sent an email to our team with a meeting request for Monday, August 21 at 10:27 a.m. The time was extremely specific and also bumped into our weekly staff meeting.

The email started like this, “As you know, I am a nerd, and I also just completed an astronomy class so I am particularly interested in this year’s astronomical event, “The Great Once in a Lifetime Total Solar Eclipse of 2017”. It looks like the best view will be during our Monday Morning Meeting at 10:27a.m. so hopefully we can cut our meeting short and wander outside to take a peek. She then sent us 17 fun facts about the solar eclipse that she learned in her astronomy class. It really is quite interesting.

Below are some facts and things you need to know.

What is a Solar Eclipse?
A Solar Eclipse occurs when the Sun, Earth and Moon are aligned, and the Moon passes between the Earth and Sun partially blocking the Sun. This casts a shadow on our planet.

Why is it a big deal?
It will be the FIRST total solar eclipse that will be visible from coast-to-coast since 1918! If you miss this one, the next Total Solar Eclipse in the United States will be in April 2024!

What will I see in Las Vegas?
Anyone can step outside on August 21st and see some degree of darkness, but not everyone will experience complete darkness. Because of its location, Oregon residents will be the first to experience the total solar eclipse for almost two whole minutes! Nashville residents will be lucky enough to experience totality for more than two minutes.

In Las Vegas, the Moon will cover about 70% of the Sun’s surface.

What time will it begin and end in Las Vegas?
Start Monday, August 21 at approximately 9:09a.m.
Best Maximum View Monday, August 21 at approximately 10:27 a.m.
End Monday, August 21 at approximately 11:52 a.m.

You Need to Protect Your Eyes!
Whether in an eclipsed state or not, you should never look directly at the Sun Doing so can cause permanent damage or worse, blindness. The only safe moment to look at the eclipse is during those couple of minutes where the Sun is completely behind the Moon. Before or after that point, special eclipse glasses must be worn to protect your eyes.

Will you be able to take a photo with your smartphone?
Yes, you will be able to take a photo with your phone; however, the quality will not be very good unless you have telephoto lens on your phone. Without it, your eclipse images will be unmagnified. This will only last a couple of minutes so it may be best to experience the moment and let the professionals take the photos!

How Do You Photograph a Solar Eclipse?
My friends at Nikon USA have allowed me to share a great article called, “How To Photograph a Solar Eclipse”. Click here for the article. Thanks, Nikon! Photo: Fred Espenak.

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