A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between Earth and the Sun, thereby totally or partially obscuring Earth's view of the Sun.
Solar eclipse and health
According to NASA, there is no evidence that eclipses have any physical effect on humans. However, eclipses have always been capable of producing profound psychological effects.
- Do not attempt to observe the partial or annular phases of any eclipse with the naked eye. Failure to use appropriate filtration may result in permanent eye damage or blindness!
- It is generally said that pregnant women should relax in a bed if possible during an eclipse. It is wise, to ensure proper care of a pregnant women during an eclipse as science has discovered that people who hurt themselves by way of a cut or a fracture, during an eclipse take a longer to heal as the blood flow seems to be more during that time than at any other time.
What can I do?
The safest and most inexpensive method to observe the phenomena is by indirect projection, in which a pinhole or small opening is used to cast the image of the Sun on a screen placed a half-meter or more beyond the opening.
The Sun can be viewed directly only when using filters specifically designed for this purpose. Such filters usually have a thin layer of aluminum, chromium or silver deposited on their surfaces that attenuates ultraviolet, visible, and infrared energy.
The use of color films, non-silver black and white film, medical X-ray films should never be used for viewing the eclipse due to potential hazard from infra red rays. The fact that the Sun appears dark in a filter or that you feel no discomfort does not guarantee that your eyes are safe.
- In any given location on Earth, a total solar eclipse happens only once every 360 years.
- Local animals and birds often prepare for sleep or behave confusedly during a total solar eclipse.
- Shadow bands are often seen on the ground as totality approaches.
- The longest duration for a total solar eclipse is 7.5 minutes.
- Only partial solar eclipses can be observed from the North and South Poles.
- Nearly identical eclipses (partial, annular or total) occur after 18 years and 11 days.
- Light filtering through leaves on trees casts crescent shadows as totality approaches.
- Eclipse shadows travel at 1,100 miles (1,770 kilometers) per hour at the equator and up to 5,000 miles (8,046 kilometers) per hour near the poles.
- The width of the path of totality is at most 167 miles (269 kilometers) wide.
- Total solar eclipses happen about once every 1.5 years.
- Local temperatures often drop 20 degrees or more near totality.