(TMU) – Eclipse fans are in for a major treat this year, with several lunar eclipses and two solar eclipses happening in 2020.
The first of these will be an annular solar eclipse – often referred to as a “Ring of Fire” – that will happen on June 21, right after the Summer Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere.
As its name suggests, the Ring of Fire is easily the most exciting of the different varieties of eclipse. Annular eclipses happen when the moon is farthest from Earth. Because the moon is so distant from our planet, it seems much smaller and doesn’t block the entire view of the sun. Instead, the moon darkens our skies while becoming surrounded by a brilliant bright circle created by the sun.
The path of totality – or the maximum phase of a total eclipse during which the lunar disk covers the sun – will go through Central Africa to the Arabian Peninsula, South Asia, China, Taiwan, and then concluding in the Southwest Pacific, as this nifty map from NASA shows.
A partial Eclipse will be visible across most of the African continent, as well as Asia, Southern and Eastern Europe, and Northern Australia.
The eclipse begins at dawn in Eastern Africa (June 21, 03:45 a.m. GMT) with totality kicking off an hour later. The totality will last roughly four hours as the moon’s shadow moves across the earth’s surface, before finally ending in the South Pacific at 08:32:17 GMT.
Of course, while annular eclipses are extremely tempting to look at, it can’t be stressed enough that people should NEVER look at the sun during any type of solar eclipse! While the sun isn’t more damaging to your eyes than on any other day, the fact that the moon offers partial covering will make it far easier to look at the sun.
And because your retinas lack pain fibers and they also can’t heal themselves, looking at an eclipse for any length of time could threaten permanent, irreversible damage to your eyes.
Instead, you’ll want to use eclipse glasses as you watch the event. Likewise, filters for cameras, binoculars, and telescopes can help you catch a great glimpse of the astronomical phenomenon without suffering irreversibly blurry vision.
However, an Ohio optometrist has warned that watching a solar eclipse is generally a bad idea unless one does it “perfectly.” A few years ago, Dr. Michael Schechter wrote in a viral Facebook post that “there are serious risks associated with viewing a solar eclipse directly, even when using solar filter glasses” – and the warning still holds just as true today.
“For instance, many solar eclipse glasses are made for adults, do not fit children well and should not be used without direct parental supervision,” Schecter wrote. If the solar glasses do not filter out 100% of the harmful UV rays, if they are not used absolutely perfectly, or should there be a manufacturing defect in any of them, this will result in permanent and irreversible vision loss for any eye exposed.
“Just like sunburn to the skin, the effects are not felt or noticed immediately. I have a great fear that I will have patients in my office … who woke up with hazy, blurry vision that I cannot fix,” he added. “One failure, just one, where education and supervision fail, will have such a devastating consequence. Please, please be safe, or watch it on television if you do not have proper protection.”
As an Optometrist , I want to express concern that I have about the solar eclipse on Monday, Aug 21. There are serious…
After this coming annular eclipse, the next one will happen a year from now on June 10, 2021, when people across Ontario, Quebec, Greenland, the North Pole, and Chukotka in Northeastern Russia will have a chance to check out the Ring of Fire. The next total solar eclipse occurs on December 15, 2020, and will be visible throughout South America.
Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida
A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.
Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.
In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.
“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.
Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.
Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.
Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.
Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.
However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.
Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son
A mother in Southern California is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her five-year-old son from an attacking mountain lion.
The little boy was playing outside his home in Calabasas, a city lying west of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, when the large cat pounced on him.
The 65-pound (30 kg) mountain lion dragged the boy about 45 yards across the front lawn before the mother acted fast, running out and striking the creature with her bare hands and forcing it to free her son.
“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Captain Patrick Foy told Associated Press on Saturday.
“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy added.
The boy sustained significant injuries to his head, neck and upper torso, but is now in stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, according to authorities.
The mountain lion was later located and killed by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who found the big cat crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at the officer shortly after he arrived at the property.
“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department noted in its statement.
The mountain lion attack is the first such attack on a human in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to Fish and Wildlife.
The Santa Monica Mountains is a biodiverse region teeming with wildlife such as large raptors, mountain lions, bears, coyote, deer, lizards, and snakes. However, their numbers have rapidly faded in recent years, causing local wildlife authorities to find new ways to manage the region’s endemic species.
Video Shows Taliban Taking Joyride in Captured US Blackhawk Helicopter
The rapid fall of Kabul to the Taliban has resulted in a number of surreal sights – from footage of the Islamist group’s fighters exercising at a presidential gym to clips of combatants having a great time on bumper cars at the local fun park.
However, a new video of Taliban members seemingly testing their skills in the cockpit of a commandeered UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter shows the chilling extent to which U.S. wares have fallen into the hands of a group it spent trillions of dollars, and exhaustive resources, to stamp out.
In the new video, shared on Twitter, the front-line utility helicopter can be seen taxiing on the ground at Kandahar Airport in southeastern Afghanistan, moving along the tarmac. It is unclear who exactly was sitting in the cockpit, and the Black Hawk cannot be seen taking off or flying.
It is unlikely that the Taliban have any combatants who are sufficiently trained to fly a UH-60 Black Hawk.
The helicopter, which carries a $6 million price tag, is just a small part of the massive haul that fell into the militant group’s hands after the country’s central government seemingly evaporated on Aug. 14 amid the withdrawal of U.S. and coalition troops.
Some 200,000 firearms, 20,000 Humvees and hundreds of aircraft financed by Washington for the now-defunct Afghan Army are believed to be in the possession of the Taliban.
The firearms include M24 sniper rifles, M18 assault weapons, anti-tank missiles, automatic grenade launchers, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars.
Taliban fighters in the elite Badri 313 Brigade have been seen in propaganda images showing off in uniforms and wielding weaponry meant for the special forces units of the Afghan Army.
The U.S. is known to have purchased 42,000 light tactical vehicles, 9,000 medium tactical vehicles and over 22,000 Humvees between 2003 and 2016.
The White House remains unclear on how much weaponry has fallen into Taliban hands, with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan admitting last week that the U.S. lacks a “clear picture of just how much missing $83 billion of military inventory” the group has.