This August 21st a large number of Americans are in for a treat. A total solar eclipse will occur as the moon’s shadow travels across the United States from Oregon to South Carolina. 

“Eclipse Predictions by Fred Espenak, NASA/GSFC Emeritus”

WHAT IS A SOLAR ECLIPSE?A solar eclipse happens when the moon travels between the Earth and the Sun. The Moon partially or completely covers the Sun casting its shadow on the earth. In areas where the shadow falls and a partial eclipse is visible the shadow is called a prenumbra. In the area where the moon entirely covers the sun and a total eclipse is visible this shadow is called the umbra. A total solar eclipse is visible from somewhere on earth about every year and a half. The last time a total solar eclipse traveled across the US was way back in 1918.

NASA visualization of a solar eclipse

Remember that the Sun is a giant ball of hot plasma that emits infrared, visible, and ultraviolet light. Looking at it even for only a second can sunburn your eye and cause permanent damage. 

Never look directly at the Sun (even when it is in total eclipse) without appropriate protective eye-wear. 

Doing so can cause both short term and long term damage to your eyes and your vision. Use welding goggles, specially designed solar viewing glasses or create a pinhole camera to watch the eclipse safely.

How to make an easy pinhole camera:

NASA images of the moon’s shadow moving across earth during a solar eclipse

As luck would have it our Jedediah Smith Wilderness project in Wyoming’s beautiful Caribou-Targhee National Forest is in prime solar eclipse viewing territory.  Total eclipse duration estimates for the area are over 2 minutes. Come meet new people and watch a total solar eclipse while giving something back to our nation’s public lands.

“Eclipse Predictions by Fred Espenak, NASA/GSFC Emeritus”