It was dark as night during the recent total solar eclipse, yet people and objects were easier to see than on a typical moonless night. Scientists have discovered a possible biological explanation — the presence (or absence) of a protein in the retina known as a GABA receptor.
In case you haven’t heard, there’s an eclipse coming on Monday, August 21st. If you live anywhere in the continental United States, you’ll be able to see at least a partial eclipse from your home, but to get the full experience you’ll need to be inside a narrow path called the “path of totality,” where the moon will completely block out the sun.
So if you can, you should definitely try to make a trip into that path of totality for yourself. It’ll likely be the best chance you’ll ever get to watch an eclipse in your lifetime. It’s a little last minute but still more than possible to take in the eclipse the right way. So if you’re just making plans now, he’s what you should know before you hop in the car and start driving.
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The first thing you’ll need to decide is where to go. There are twelve states in the path of totality, and each one offers something unique. Check out our state-by-state guide to help you pick the best viewing spot.
And once you’re there, you’ll need some special eye equipment. Even during an eclipse, you can’t just stare at the sun without hurting your eyes. You’ll need to buy some eclipse glasses, or a pair of eclipse binoculars if you want to get fancy. You could also build a homemade pinhole camera to view the sun safely without spending money.
If you want to take some photos of the event, your standard camera equipment won’t be enough. There’s a lot of preparation you’ll need to do, so be sure to check out our guide to photographing the solar eclipse.
But most importantly of all: Go out and see it if you can. Yes, it’s last minute, but if you’re in driving time of the totality, you can make it! Even if you can’t a partial eclipse is a heck of a thing to see. While you’re there though, make sure you enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime event. For maximum viewing pleasure, here’s our list of eclipse viewing tips. But here’s perhaps the most important tip of them all: relax and have fun, and just watch.
Do those eclipse glasses come in Tom Ford? (#WishfulThinking) Ah, well. Grab your safety-approved sun gazing specs anyway. August is eclipse season—especially exciting news for North America. On August 21, as the Leo new moon puts on a Cirque du Soleil in the skies, we’ll celebrate the first visible solar eclipse in our neck of the woods since July 1991. It’s such a big deal, in fact, that campsites in the Oregon Outback have been sold out for months—and people have shelled out serious paper for an unobstructed view. (We also hear the parties will be bonkers…sorry Ibiza.)
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Circle August 7 on the calendar too, the day of the lunar (full moon) eclipse in Aquarius. Since this one arrives late morning/early afternoon in the U.S., it won’t announce itself like Beyoncé at the Super Bowl halftime show. But astrologically, it will have an impact.
How Eclipses Affect Us, Astrologically Speaking
Eclipses always take place during a new moon (solar) or a full moon (lunar). In astrological lore, la lune represents the mother, the divine feminine and the archetype of the nurturer. She is the governess of our emotions and deepest desires — and she has a dark side we’ll never see. New moons are times for planting seeds; for conceptualizing and initiating. Six months later there is a corresponding full moon which is when we get to harvest the seeds we’ve sown.
An eclipse is like a supercharged moon moment. Everything happens faster, but we also have to “carpe diem” so we don’t miss the golden opportunity being offered. Eclipses are disruptors of the status quo and harbingers of change. They force us to look at the shadows and deal already. We may have less control during these lunations—and oh, the surprises they can bring! To follow are some tips for maximizing these moonbeams and owning August like a cosmic queen.
Dig Even Deeper
When a lunar eclipse arrives, like the one on August 7, the Sun casts the shadow of the Earth onto the full moon. Metaphorically, a lunar eclipse can reveal things that have been obscured from view. Just when we feel ready to make a final decision, boom! The eclipse hits us with a surprise and reminds us to do one last round of research. Buried emotions can arise like the ghosts of Jung and Freud. Smarter options could surface; and we may have to seize upon them without abundant preparation time. People’s hidden agendas could come to light in spectacular ways or major scandals can be exposed. (About that Russia investigation…)
Bottom line: Don’t take anything at face value near August 7. A little extra digging could literally save your ass—or redirect your course of action in unexpected, yet amazing ways.
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Protect Your Sensitive Data (And do it better than Jared Kushner.)
The August 7 lunar eclipse takes place in Aquarius, the sign of technology and the Internet. We all have messages living on our devices that we would DIE if anyone discovered. Scroll through and scrub every device of Mean Girl snark, illicit sexts and nefarious selfies that could ruin a future run for office. Switch to stronger passwords and while you’re at it, consider updating your home server to a VPN to keep those data miners away. And if a troll pops up on your feed, block and report instead of engaging in an endless bot battle.
Start Saving up for that Condo on Mars
Aquarius is the zodiac’s space cadet and this lunar eclipse is already giving us a preview of what’s to come. On July 31, SpaceX magnate Elon Musk announced a November test launch of his Mars-bound Falcon Heavy craft. Intergalactic life just got real! Here on Earth, this eclipse may sound another clarion call to preserve the planet’s future. Evidence may emerge that forces an Aquarian-style collaboration of nations…yes, even the few whose administrations are still in denial.
Fashion a Pussy Hat in Breathable Fabric
During a solar eclipse, the moon appears to block out the glaring light of the Sun. These moments force us to deal with our feelings (the moon) instead of focusing on what’s shiny but distracting (the Sun). In astrology, the moon represents the feminine and the Sun represents the masculine. That means that there’s some fascinating symbolism to consider this August 21. Women’s issues may very well be powerful enough to block out the male-driven agenda, if only for 2.5 rare hours.
And is it just a cosmic coincidence that we’ll get the best view from the good ol’ USA? This eclipse could parade about like a Women’s March on the Solar System. (PS: Justin Trudeau, the viewing area borders Canada. We’ll have a pussy hat, lawn chair and a cold Labatt Blue waiting for you…)
Lead with Your Heart, Not Your Ego
A regal solar eclipse in Leo awakens powerful leadership qualities in us all. But this can play out one of two ways: heart-centered governance (think: Leo Barack Obama) or ego-tripping mania (the specter of Leo Osama Bin Laden looms in this category). There’s also room for a touch of fierce—Leo Maxine Waters or “Mother of Dragons” Daenerys Targaryen, who we imagine would be a Leo if GOT characters had zodiac signs.
Should August crown you Queen of (fill in the blank), remember that with great power comes great responsibility. Use your influence to empower, not overpower. Lend your credibility to a cause worth fighting for instead of burning up that opportunity in a bonfire of vanities. This is especially true for those born with privilege. Don’t get caught up in guilt, just use those benefits for good!
Peacock Like No One’s Watching
Of course, we’re talking about a Leo-Aquarius eclipse series here and no one will be above a little (okay, a lot) of shameless self-promotion. Flaunt what Mother Nature blessed you with and flirt with fearless aplomb. Edgy, eccentric Aquarius and deliciously theatrical Leo vibes? The cosmic catwalk is going to be a hella colorful place this August. Free your inner peacock from captivity—and invite a unicorn to strut alongside her. And please, be sure to document it all on your Instagram feed.