It won’t be another two months or so before the 2017 total solar eclipse is visible in America, but the hype is palpable. And as we move closer to August 21 of this year, we find ourselves learning more and more about solar eclipses, and the strange things that are bound to happen during these events.
The Inquisitr has been providing coverage on the upcoming total solar eclipse and sharing interesting tips and facts about these events, how to look for them, and what to look forward to. But more and more experts have been stepping up with eclipse-related factoids in the run-up to the actual event, offering some tidbits the average person might not be aware of, and setting people’s expectations months in advance.
In an interview with St. Louis Public Radio, American Eclipse author David Baron spoke with the authority of someone who’s witnessed five total solar eclipses since 1998, but never one in his home country of the U.S. According to NASA’s 2017 total solar eclipse fact page, the last time North America had seen such an event was in 1972, with the eclipse’s path visible from Northern Alaska to Nova Scotia. This will also mark the first time since 1918 that a total eclipse will be visible on both East and West Coasts of the United States.
Nonetheless, Baron shared his experiences viewing total solar eclipses and discussed how their initial appearance in itself is peculiar — blue skies disappear, and allow people to “look toward the center of the solar system,” which isn’t possible in normal circumstances. And while it may be well-known to people that the skies may turn into strange colors, Baron added that the 2017 total solar eclipse, like most others, may see animals manifesting weird behavior.
“All the critters will be acting strange,” Baron explained.
“Birds will act as if there’s a sudden, perplexing dusk. Bats may come out. Fireflies may come out. It is about 10 minutes before the total eclipse sets in that you really start to notice changes in the light and animals.”
As for the possibility that the 2017 solar eclipse may be marred by rains or cloudy weather, Baron noted that people will still be able to see something, with gray skies going from “gray to really gray,” and shadows looming overhead, despite the overcast weather.
Weird animal behavior isn’t the only peculiarity people can expect, according to a separate report from Space. Temperature changes can be expected during a total solar eclipse, and that’s something that has been well-documented through the years, with temperatures reportedly dropping from 78 degrees to 50 degrees Fahrenheit during the 1834 solar eclipse. Generally speaking, temperature changes during total eclipses will all depend on the location and time of the year, but will always be sudden, as opposed to the gradual changes that take place between midday and sunset.
For the 2017 total solar eclipse, American Astronomical Society head of media relations Rick Feinberg told Space that people can look forward to average temperature drops of 10 degrees Fahrenheit.
Given all that we know about total solar eclipses, would it be worth it to go on a trek just to experience the 2017 eclipse at its grandest? Another eclipse expert, Bryan Brewer, told GeekWire that people planning to travel to get a good view of the 2017 total solar eclipse need to look at a map of the eclipse path and look for a place where they can get 100 percent totality.
“If you’re outside the path, you will not experience the dramatic effects,” he explained.
“Ninety-eight or 99 percent is not good enough here — you need to be inside the path to get the full effect.”
[Featured Image by Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images]