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I have friends who tell me that seeing a total solar eclipse is literally life-changing; the serene beauty and majestic clockwork motion of the cosmos unfolding above you is transformative, showing you viscerally the connection between you and other objects in the Universe.
I wouldn’t know. I’ve never seen one.
But that won’t stop me from talking about them! So, just for you, here is 10 minutes of me expositing on eclipses both solar and lunar in Crash Course Astronomy Episode 5:
In the video I mention you can get safe solar viewing glasses online; you can order them from Astronomers Without Borders and from Rainbow Symphony (I have these myself, and I believe that’s what I was wearing in the video). Rainbow Symphony has a wide range of other viewing apparatus as well.
And what I said is the truth: I’ve never seen a total solar eclipse for myself. I’ve seen lots of partial ones, but it’s not the same. I think my best chance will be in 2017, when the path of totality crosses the United States, cutting through a lot of places where the weather will almost certainly be good for viewing. It goes through Wyoming, just a few hundred kilometers north of my house, and that may be where I sojourn to see it.
You’ll be hearing a lot more about the 2017 eclipse in the coming couple of years. Make sure you bookmark this Crash Course Astronomy video so you can watch it again when the time comes!