The Great American Eclipse of 2017
July 25th 2017
A total solar eclipse will occur on Monday, August 21, 2017. It will be visible in totality only within a band across the entire contiguous United States. A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the earth and sun, thereby totally or partly obscuring the image of the sun for a viewer on earth. This is the first total solar eclipse visible from the United States since 1979.
The eclipse will be total between the two green lines within the image below. Outside the green lines, the eclipse will be partial.
Partial eclipses are interesting, but they are not as spectacular as total solar eclipses. Thus you should attempt to be within the path of totality for best viewing.
The duration of totality will be only a second or so on the green lines. The greatest duration is along the red centerline. For best viewing, you should attempt to be as close to the centerline as possible. The greatest duration will be 2 minutes and 40 seconds in southern Illinois. Going east or west of this location will produce a shorter duration.
The earth's surface provides the best view of solar eclipses in our solar system. The earth's surface is also the most habitable place in the solar system. You must ask yourself, “Is this just a coincidence?” The truth is that the conditions that make a planet habitable also make its inhabitants more likely to see solar eclipses. When the sun’s fire is blocked by the shade of the moon, it’s not only a powerful visual spectacle; it is also a reminder of the rare privileged nature of our planet, seemingly designed for scientific discovery.
Total Solar Eclipses are Vital to Science
Total solar eclipses were key in validating Einstein’s theory of relativity, which predicted that gravity bends light. By observing stars that are invisible except during an eclipse, astronomers were able to watch the sun bend its light, making it appear out of place in the sky, and confirming Einstein’s prediction. Eclipses were also how man first observed solar flares and coronal mass ejections on the surface of the sun. These phenomena are normally invisible to the naked eye, but appear briefly around the edges of the moon during an eclipse.
It turns out that the conditions for this dazzling display are incredibly rare. The moon has to be just the right size, orbiting a planet just the right distance from its host star. And it so happens that although the sun is 400 times bigger than the moon, it’s also (coincidence?) 400 times further from earth, meaning that the two objects appear roughly the same size in the sky.
This allows the moon to block the sun in precisely the right way for scientists to study the solar atmosphere. And of course, all these conditions must be met on a planet that also supports intelligent life capable of appreciating an eclipse. The earth is uniquely designed as an observatory for such astronomical wonders — and where we see design, we know there is a designer.
The evidence we can uncover from our earthly observatory points to a universe that is designed for life and designed for discovery. The designer of our universe, the earth, solar eclipses, and even you is the God of the Bible. What’s more amazing than a total solar eclipse? How about the fact that God wants you to know Him?
Will you go to Heaven when you die? Here’s a quick test: Have you ever lied, stolen, or used God’s name in vain? Jesus said, “Whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” If you have done these things, God sees you as a lying, thieving, blasphemous, adulterer at heart, and the Bible warns that one day God will punish you eternally for your sins. But God is not willing that any should perish. Sinners broke God’s Law and Jesus paid their fine. This means that God can legally dismiss their case: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Then Jesus rose from the dead, defeating death. Today, as the only way to heaven, repent and trust in Jesus as your savior, and God will give you eternal life as a free gift of grace. Then read the Bible daily and obey it. God’s truth eclipses everything else! Do you know Him?
A Reminder: Remember to wear special eclipse glasses, as staring at the sun directly, even during an eclipse, can cause permanent damage to your eyes.
BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE: You can easily share this information and the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ in just a few easy steps. You can forward this blog post to a friend and/or download either the 2-panel flyer or the 3-panel brochure below to hand out to friends, family, and total strangers. May God be glorified through your efforts!!!
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