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Needless to say, millions of people are fascinated with the perspective of the 2017 total solar eclipse. This event will be visible from the continental US on the 21st of August. But let’s see how the scientists at NASA can figure out where will the moon shadow be on the surface of our planet.
Why Is It Important?
Of course, such details are important for scientists, since they have to know where they can observe particularly important information for future research. But at the same time, regular people also want to know which the best point to observe the eclipse is. If you’re not doing it from the right angle, then you may only see a partial eclipse, which means that the sky will not darken fully and the moon will cover the sun only partially.
How Do They Do It?
Scientists were using a technique developed in the 19th century in order to predict the eclipse’s path. It is basically a coordinate system that aligns the shadow of the moon over the Earth. As such, they can determine whether a particular point on Earth was inside the shadow circle or not. However, this method can be accurate within a few miles only.
Thankfully, they are now using modern calculations, which enable them to take into account variations in what concerns Moon’s surface smoothness, the position of the observer on Earth and other factors. They are starting off from the coordinate system, but then they use complicated calculation in order to predict the exact place and the duration of the shadow in a certain point.
Is It Best to View It from the Center?
The catch here is that it would be better to view it on the edges. That’s where all the beautiful phenomena takes place, not in the center!