On the morning of May 28, 1900, thousands of people across the southeastern United States gathered to witness a rare and spectacular sight as the moon cast its shadow across the sun and darkened the skies. The total solar eclipse carved a path from New Orleans, Louisiana, to Norfolk, Virginia, spanning over 925 miles and obscuring the sun for around 1 to 2 minutes in many locations.
Among the skywatchers were teams of scientists and volunteers who stood ready to document a variety of atmospheric conditions with the hope of advancing meteorological science. And, for one of the first times in history, these teams corroborated how an eclipse affects Earth’s atmosphere.
On Monday, August 21, 2017, all of North America will be treated to an eclipse of the sun, which has been dubbed the “Great American Eclipse.” The path will stretch from Salem, Oregon, to Charleston, South Carolina. If you’ll be in the path of totality, you can take your own meteorological observations and see how they compare to those observed during the 1900 eclipse.
Safety First: Protect Your Eyes
Don’t forget! It’s important to take precautions when viewing the eclipse. Direct viewing of the partial phases can cause permanent damage to your eyes because of the intensity of the sunlight.
The eclipse should only be viewed with protective eyewear designated for use during an eclipse. Ordinary sunglasses or 3D glasses lack sufficient protection. Also, avoid viewing through unfiltered cameras, telescopes, binoculars, or other optical devices.
However, if weather cooperates during the few minutes that the sun is completely eclipsed in totality, the brief interval is as safe to view as a full moon.