Paris: If you are disappointed you will miss out on the August 21 total solar eclipse occurring in the US, don't be. Though not in the sky, you can still watch and enjoy the celestial wonder on the NASA website. The US space agency will be putting the broadcast live, starting at 1600GMT. So, get ready to catch the spectacle on your screen.
The August 21 total solar eclipse is a rare event that has been eagerly awaited. The eclipse will be visible in the US for the first time after almost a century. No wonder then that an unprecedented frenzy has swept the skygazers there, with a mad scramble for the glasses that make it safe to watch the eclipse.
Prices for the glasses have shot up, stores are emptying out and the queues are increasing. People are jostling for the special eyewear. Amid the craze, a recent recall by Amazon has left last-minute shoppers perplexed. The ones still for sale on Amazon were going for steep prices: around $11-$12 each, a report said.
The US Fire Administration has called on the public to be wary of counterfeit glasses which are being promoted by many manufacturers.
Only eclipse glasses that have a certification with "ISO 12312-2 international standard" are safe for use, according to NASA.
In campaigns launched this summer, doctors have been appealing to the people to desist from staring directly at the sun during the eclipse, which they warned can damage the eyes. Their advice is: Get special glasses.
And those who don't have the glasses can look indirectly with a pinhole projector that casts images of the eclipsed sun onto a screen at least 3 feet away.
"With this method, sunlight streams through a small hole - such as a pencil hole in a piece of paper, or even the space between your fingers - onto a makeshift screen, such as a piece of paper or the ground," NASA said on its website.
As the craze to see the eclipse builds up, citizen scientists are bracing up too. While watching the unique phenomenon, they will monitor temperature changes, animal behaviour and radio signals in the atmosphere. Some will study the corona of the Sun which is only visible during an eclipse.
Using supercomputers, some researchers have already forecast how the corona of the sun will look on Monday.
A team of solar physicists is also planning to capture high-resolution sunspots - the visible concentrations of magnetic fields on the Sun's surface - at microwave radio wavelengths, according to a report.
A total solar eclipse takes place when the moon passes between the sun and earth and blocks the sun completely.
NASA have said the eclipse's path will stretch from Salem, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. If you are outside this path, you will still see a partial solar eclipse.
The solar eclipse will be streamed live online for the first time, from the vantage point of helium-filled balloons across the United States, providing the public with sky-high views as the moon blocks the sun.
A team of researchers from Montana State University has partnered with NASA to participate in the Space Grant Ballooning Project to send more than 50 high-altitude balloons 80,000 feet (24,384 meters) up to capture the solar eclipse as it crosses the country on Aug. 21.