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No Total Eclipse For San Diegans, But Plenty To See

Composite image of totality showing the corona during the 2015 eclipse in Svalbard with the magnetic field of the sun outlined in the coronal loops.
Courtesy of Jay Pasachoff and Ron Dantowitz
Composite image of totality showing the corona during the 2015 eclipse in Svalbard with the magnetic field of the sun outlined in the coronal loops.
No Total Eclipse For San Diegans, But Plenty To See
No Total Eclipse For San Diegans, But Plenty To See GUESTS: Lisa Will, astronomy professor, San Diego City College Pat Boyce, executive director, Boyce Research Initiatives and Education Foundation

It's been said that in these fracture times, Americans need to find something to unite us. Next Monday we make it that as most of the country will get to experience what is called the great American I clips. Is the first coast-to-coast total eclipse since 1918. We will express only a partial eclipse , but it will be a dramatic break in the day. Reporter spoke to astronomers about this.Lisa, describe what the experience will be like for people experiencing a total eclipse.It will be noticeably darker, but will be completely dark. You will have ambient blue sky in the distance. One of things that I find interesting during a eclipse, the birds animals notice that it gets narc -- dark.Can you see the stars in the sky?If you have totality, you'll see some of the brightest stars.What causes an eclipse?That is correct. The moon passes in front of the sun. Because the orbits are not aligned, they occur at odd times and in different places of the world. The odds are having -- of having one like this is small. An eclipse happens every 12-18 months.Have you ever seen a total eclipse?I've only seen partial eclipse's.I've seen 2. 1999 was one of the best, I suddenly cruiseship.Is it as profound?Absolutely. You see some people say it is a religious parents, but it is moving. You realize how little you are in the universe.Eclipse in San Diego won't be total. What will be -- we be able to see?Will be experiencing a partial solar eclipse. This one will be more covered than the earlier one. This will be better. But because it will only be about 57% covered we want to make sure that you observe the clip safely. Just remember don't look up with your sunglasses.You're headed to Oregon to get into the direct path to gather scientific data. What kind of information will you be capturing?We are part of a national program sponsored by the national solar Observatory at NASA to make a continuous movie of the eclipse as it goes across the country. There are 60 sites taking images in high definition and they will be piece together.Are there any specific scientific mysteries that we hope that the eclipse will help us answer?Good up -- observations answer some questions but Spohn a lot of questions. We don't understand the behavior of the solar corona. A time we can get more data on that is really useful.I would China them -- chime in. The krona starts at the surface of the sun, it is 6000 degrees Kelvin and he goes to 35 million degrees. We don't have a good answer might so hot.You been answering for this in your backyard workWe can expose her camera to the sun. We do use a filter. All of these sites have to do it at the same time. We have a very rigorous procedure. The images are correct in intensity and luminosity so that they can be pieced together. Hopefully we can's -- can see those streamers.You're talking about safety. We are familiar with these glasses you have to wear. Why are the necessary and working you get them?The sun is really bright. You know if you look at the sun, you will bunch away. You can do retinal damage by looking at the sun for too long without a filter. You will see these cardboard glasses with filters in them. They look like movie theater glasses. These block the sun enough so you can watch the eclipse and we have them available for sale. You will see them at libraries around town. There not sunglasses, you can't wear your sunglasses. UV protection is not enough. I think one of the ways you can ask yourself if your glasses are safe, aim them at a bright light in your home. If any light is coming through from a normal life, they are not good enough.I've read there been shortages of glasses online. If you can get your hands on them what can you do to safely observe the eclipse?You can do pinhole projections where you poke a hole in a piece of cardboard and let the sunlight go through the whole. You watch a projected image of the sun. You're looking at the image on the ground or wall. Into that with household items. If you go outside today in the sunlight filtered through a slotted spoon, you'll get a bunch of little circles of the sun. If you do this on Monday morning in San Diego, you'll get a bunch of little crescents.That is my favorite scene, it is like Halloween.If you have ever stood under a tree and seen dappled sunlight, though circles of flight our individual images of the sun.When is the US-2 for another total eclipse?You will have to wait until April 2024. San Diego only see a partial solar eclipse on that one. We are still going to have to drive.The fortunate people in Illinois will see both of them perfectly.The fleet and library branches across San Diego will have free viewing parties starting around 9 AM.[ MUSIC ]Join us tomorrow for KPBS Mid Day Radio Show . If you ever miss a show you can check out the midday addition podcasts I'm Maureen Cavanaugh, thank you for listening.

Scientists and amateur stargazers across the country are gearing up for Monday's Great American Eclipse, when the entire continental United States will see the moon cover at least part of the sun. But while San Diegans will be able to see the sun darken Monday morning, they will be nearly 1,000 miles away from the rarer total eclipse.

The total eclipse—when the moon comes between the sun and the Earth, completely blocking out the sun in some areas—will start around 10 a.m. in Oregon and cut a path through South Carolina just before 3 p.m. local time. Other portions of the country will see a partial eclipse. In San Diego, the moon will cover up 57 percent of the sun.

Lisa Will, the Fleet Science Center’s resident astronomer and an astronomy professor at San Diego City College, said coast-to-coast total eclipses are incredibly rare.

“The last time was 1918,” she said. “It’s estimated half the population of the U.S. lives within driving distance of the path of totality. Everywhere in the country will get to see some sort of eclipse.”

The Fleet and public libraries across San Diego will have viewing parties Monday morning. Many sites will have special glasses that are required to directly view the eclipse without damaging your eyes.

Some San Diegans will be making the trek to Oregon. Pat Boyce, executive director of the Boyce Research Initiatives and Education Foundation, is part of a nationwide citizen science effort that will photograph the eclipse from 60 sites throughout the country. The Citizen CATE project will stitch the images together to create a 90-minute movie.

Boyce and others are interested in learning more about the sun’s corona, the layer of plasma surrounding the star. It is only directly observable during a total eclipse, when the moon blocks out the sun’s much brighter surface.

"The corona starts at the surface of the sun at roughly 6,000 degrees Kelvin and it goes to 3 to 5 million degrees in its outer reaches, which completely makes no sense unless there’s some energy transfer from within the sun,” Boyce said. “And we don’t have a good answer for that.”

If San Diegans are unable to drive or fly to see the total eclipse this year, there will be another one running from Texas through Maine in 2024. But don’t expect a local total eclipse any time soon.

“The next one in San Diego won’t be in our lifetime,” Will said.

Will and Boyce joined KPBS Midday Edition on Thursday with more on eclipse research and safety tips.