The astronaut says the solar eclipse offers a rare glimpse of the “cosmic dance” that can be seen from space


A retired NASA astronaut from Yonkers is preparing New Yorkers for the April 8 solar eclipse — saying it will give Earth a rare glimpse into a “cosmic dance” usually only seen from space.

Ron Garan, who has traveled 71 million miles in space and orbited the planet more than 2,800 times during two missions to the International Space Station, is doing his part to get Earthlings excited about this rare astronomical event by giving presentations at the Hudson River Museum in his hometown at the end of this year. the week.

“It's mainly about perspective and trying to zoom out to see the bigger picture of things,” Garan said of the growing hype surrounding the upcoming event that will be seen entirely from the northern and western parts of the state.

Thin bands in the sun's corona surround the completely eclipsed sun during a total solar eclipse on August 21, 2017. Observers along the narrow path from Mexico to Maine should have a similar view on April 8, 2024. Johnny Horne for the Fayetteville Observer/USA TODAY Network/USA TODAY NETWORK

“There's this term that was coined in the 1980s called the 'overview effect.' [by Harvard professor Frank White,]said the 62-year-old Boulder, Colorado, resident.

“He has documented a shift in consciousness in some astronauts when they see the planet from space. There is this huge shift when you realize the unity and the cosmic dance that we are all a part of, and it's a pretty profound shift, isn't it?”

“But when astronomical events like eclipses happen, it's an opportunity for all of us here on Earth to have the same kind of shift in perspective.”

Garan, who will observe totality at a viewing event near Austin, Texas, stressed the importance of wearing safety glasses during the eclipse, which will last for several hours surrounded by nearly four minutes of darkness in the totality zone — a narrow strip of the eclipse. About 100 miles would stretch from Mexico to Maine and beyond.

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Most of these people have the right idea – be sure to use specialized goggles to view the eclipse. Saul Young/Knoxville News Sentinel/USA Today Network/USA Today Network

“When we look at the sun now, we're looking at a blue sky, right? But when we look at it from space, we're looking at it against a black sky, so we see our sun as a star, which it is,” Garan said.

Ronald Garan has logged more than 71 million miles
Space during two missions to the International Space Station.

“And you shouldn't look at the sun. The sunlight is brighter there. So, you shouldn't look at the sun for a long period of time on Earth or in space, but you really have to be careful in space,” he added, noting that space suits contain Reflective masks for this purpose.

“In an eclipse, you don't want to look at the sun at all, because it's too dangerous [without protective eyewear]”.

A total solar eclipse will not be visible from New York again until 2079, when the totality zone will be visible It will include The five boroughs.

The astronaut said he hopes the rarity of the event will encourage people to enjoy the “shift in perspective” that comes with appreciating routine astronomical wonders.

“The reason eclipses in particular are so compelling is that they are so rare,” the astronaut said.

“But every day, or actually twice a day, we can experience a sunrise or a sunset, and this is an equally compelling astronomical event that shows the cosmic dance and our place in the universe, and all that, which should have an equally powerful impact.” We.

“We've been conditioned our whole lives to take these miraculous things for granted, and we'd be lucky if we noticed.”

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