Alaska's chances to see the solar eclipse

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU)


(App users, to view the interactive map, follow this link).

Methodology:

Data is sourced from timeanddate.com, which is currently operated by Time and Date AS. According to Time and Date AS, the site is the world's biggest time zone-related website.

Use the interactive map, above, to:
- Compare the start, end, and peak times of the eclipse, by location.
- Compare how much sun will be obscured, by location.

Story:
On August 21, 2017, the Great American Solar Eclipse will occur all across the country. While the area that actually sees the total eclipse is fairly narrow--only about 70 miles wide--every state will get to see at least a partial eclipse, including Alaska. Check out the dataviz attached to this story to see how much solar coverage--weather willing--you could see in your area.

The Great American Solar Eclipse will be the first time in 99 years that a total solar eclipse has moved across the United States from coast to coast and a lot of star gazers will be looking up.

Erin Hicks, Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Alaska Anchorage, says it's not always about the science. "I think for most of us it's a reminder that we live in a universe that's much bigger then what is obvious in our day to day lives," says Hicks

In Alaska, the Panhandle will see the highest amount of solar coverage with some locations having up to 65 percent coverage. Anchorage will see about a 45 percent coverage which means if you didn't know the eclipse was happening, you might not recognize it. According to Aaron Slonecker, Planetarium and Programs Manager at the Anchorage Musesum, without special viewing equipment the eclipse will be hard to see. "You won't be able to see a difference between a hundred percent of the sun and 55 percent," says Slonecker. "It will still be bright."

Though Earth orbits around the sun every year and the moon orbits around Earth every month, an eclipse is not a regular event.

"It doesn't happen every month as the moon and the sun travel around simply because their orbital planes are offset," says Hicks. "So they just pass right above and below each other frequently so for the moon to be right in front of the sun is a rather rare occurrence."

Slonecker encourages everyone to take the chance to safely view the eclipse, saying, "Anchorage doesn't get a nice eclipse again until 2039 so you will have to wait awhile if you don't get out and take the chance to look at the sun."

The Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center is holding a solar eclipse viewing party on Monday morning, beginning at 8:30 AM. They will have specially shielded telescopes and viewing glasses. Never look directly at the sun without proper eye protection. Normal sunglasses are not enough protection for your eyes.



 
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