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Total solar eclipse happening today

Posted: Monday, August 21, 2017. 10:16 a.m. CST.

Photo: Business Insider

By BBN Staff: Today, the continent of North America will experience a total solar eclipse.

A total solar eclipse is when the moon moves between the sun and Earth, lasting for up to about three hours from beginning to end.

Total solar eclipses occur once every 12 to 18 months while partial solar eclipses, when the moon blocks only part of the sun, occur more frequently, though visibility varies, according to NASA.

During the eclipse, the lunar shadow will darken the sky and temperatures will drop while bright stars and planets will appear at a time that is normally broad daylight.

NASA is anticipating the longest period when the moon obscures the sun’s entire surface from any given location along its path will last about two minutes and 40 seconds around midday today. Additionally, a partial eclipse will be viewable across all of North America.

NASA reports that the eclipse will provide a unique opportunity to study the sun, Earth, moon and their interaction because of the eclipse’s long path over land coast to coast. Scientists will be able to take ground-based and airborne observations over a period of an hour and a half to complement the wealth of data and images provided by space assets.

NASA will have a live streaming of the eclipse. A partial solar eclipse will be visible in every US state and in countries in Latin and South America, Africa and Europe.

NASA is advising observers to use safety glasses to protect your eyes from the sun rays. People are advised not to look directly at the eclipse without protective safety glasses. Looking directly at the eclipse can cause long lasting damage to the eyes.

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