Solar Eclipse August 2008

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Solar Eclipse August 2008
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[Narrator] On the first of August 2008 a rare and awe-inspiring event will take place, a total solar eclipse.

Skies over Canada, Greenland, Russia, Mongolia, and China will darken, as the sun is completely blocked out by the moon.

Over the centuries, these striking events have inspired countless inquiries and questions, so we posed some to our resident eclipse experts.

[Fred Espenak] A solar eclipse takes place whenever the moon passes between the Earth and the sun and some portion of it’s shadow passes across the Earth’s surface.

[Alex Young] One of the important things is as many people have probably heard growing up, you should never look at the sun directly because it would damage your eyes. And the same thing is true during an eclipse; the only time when it is actually safe to look at the sun is exactly at totality. So otherwise you need to either have special glasses with a filter or you can have a filter on a telescope or if you have a telescope that projects the image on to a screen or even you can make a pinhole camera that projects the image on to a screen.

[Fred Espenak] During a total eclipse it give scientists a rare opportunity to make direct measurements of the sun’s corona with all types of instruments and measure it at different wavelengths, measure it at different frequencies, once a second, twenty times a second, a hundred times a second, with different size telescopes, which are always improving.

[Alex Young] Soon we’ll be launching, at the end of this year, something called the Solar Dynamics Observatory, which is going to give us an unprecedented view of the sun, in a whole bunch of different wavelengths all at the same time and very fast. So we’re very excited about that.

[Narrator] The August first solar eclipse promises to be a stunning event.

And while only people in a small area of the world will be able to see the eclipse in person, viewers all across the globe can watch the event on NASA TV and online at

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