You probably have a lot of questions about the grand total solar eclipse taking place on August 21st. Will everybody be able to see the eclipse? Will looking directly at it make you blind? Is this a sign that aliens have found us and their brutal, merciless invasion is nigh? Well, the folks at National Geographic have created an informative video that tells you everything you need to know about it, and spoiler: Extraterrestrials will probably not touch down on Earth in a few days (via LaughingSquid).It starts broadly: “A solar eclipse happens when a new moon moves between the Earth and the sun, blocking some or all of the sun’s rays from reaching the Earth.” The narrator goes on to tell us that, “through cosmic chance,” the sizes of the moon and the sun and how far both are away from us means that from our perspective, they appear to be the same size in our sky.
During an eclipse, the moon casts two shadows on Earth: The umbra and the penumbra. People within the umbra will be able to see a total solar eclipse, during which the moon completely covers the sun’s surface, while those under the penumbra can see a partial eclipse, during which–you guessed it–the moon only covers part of the sun. You can actually check what type of eclipse you’ll be able to see and when you’ll be able to see it right here.
Most importantly, don’t look right at the eclipse. While it may not blind you, it can definitely cause permanent eye damage. So, get some legitimate solar eclipse glasses and safely enjoy one of our solar system’s most fascinating natural phenomena.
Featured image: National Geographic/YouTube