Today’s the big day.
Here’s what you need to know.
Eclipse? What eclipse?
A solar eclipse happens when the moon’s orbit passes in front of the sun and the moon blocks some of the sun from view. In a total solar eclipse, the moon fully blocks the sun.
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Of course, before the advent of science and astronomy, people had other, considerably more colorful explanations.
This year, the eclipse will fully block the sun in a 70-mile-wide band along a path across the country that starts in Oregon this morning. The rest of the country, including Sacramento, will be in the partial shadow provided by the penumbra, experiencing a partial eclipse.
It’s the first total eclipse in the U.S. since 1979, and the first to cross the entire U.S. in 99 years. The next total eclipse won’t be visible from the U.S. until 2024.
When does it happen here?
In California, the moon will start to edge into the sun at 9:02 a.m. The maximum eclipse will take place at 10:17 a.m., and the partial eclipse will end at 11:45 a.m.
Is there a livestream?
Of course. You can watch a NASA livestream of the eclipse on your computer starting at 9 a.m. Pacific.
Can I still get eclipse glasses?
If you can find a pair still available, then hurry up and buy a lottery ticket, too, because it’s definitely your lucky day.
Less snarky version: You really can’t. They’re sold out pretty much everywhere. Sorry.
You can still make your own or go to a public viewing event, though.
Whatever you do, don’t look at the eclipse without eclipse glasses or some other form of eye protection. It’s dangerous.
Seriously, you can go blind. No joke.
Where can I watch the eclipse?
Just about anywhere you have a good view of the sun will work, but universities, libraries and science centers are just some of the places around Sacramento offering public viewing parties.
Some events will feature experts or special equipment for viewing the eclipse.
What are local schools doing for the eclipse?
It varies from school to school, and even class to class, but Sacramento educators are struggling with a desire to let children take part in a rare event versus concerns that students could suffer eye damage from looking directly at the eclipse. Some schools will keep younger children inside as a precaution.
Hey, what’s an eclipse going to do to solar power?
As you can probably guess, the sun vanishing isn’t exactly awesome for solar power operations. Fortunately, it’s not a total eclipse here and will last only a short while. Also, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District will have electricity reserves ready to fill any gaps in power resulting from a drop in solar energy.
Can it just be over already?
In the short term, the eclipse ends in California around 11:30 a.m. In the long term, well, you’ve got a long wait.
But it can’t end soon enough for some people.