A rare solar eclipse is happening across the US on August 21. It will be the first time since 1918 that a solar eclipse has crossed the country from coast-to-coast. Astrophysicist at Columbia University and founder of theWorld Science Festival, Brian Greene, explains to us the best way to enjoy this rare, spectacular event. Following is a transcript of the video.
We do have this wonderful opportunity in August. Actually, August 21st is the date when there’s going to be a total solar eclipse across the United States.
That’s kind of rare. Often times, these eclipses don’t happen over populated areas. You have to go in the middle of the ocean or someplace far away, but we have a real opportunity to experience one of the great wonders of nature.
There are fun things that you might want to do during a solar eclipse. You can actually — if you’re very ambitious, set up your own version of the measurement of the deflection of starlight by the sun, which was carried out during the solar eclipse of 1919 to confirm the general theory of relativity.
Using relatively inexpensive off-the-shelf equipment augmented a little bit, you could actually carry out a version of that experiment and probably get answers that are more accurate than the ones that were obtained back in 1919.
You know another thing that you can do — a little less ambitious — is you could time the duration of the solar eclipse, and compare to predictions. Right, that’s what science is all about, you make predictions, you do a measurement and compare the two. Citizens can actually do that.
Now if you ask me what you should really be doing during the solar eclipse? Just take it in, it is one of the most amazing experiences, that’s what I’ve taught. I’ve never experienced one, I’ve read about people — It’s a transcendent experience. Just go out and experience one of the great wonders of the universe.
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