We're just a day away from the greatest show ABOVE Earth ... which, of course, CBS News will bring tomorrow afternoon. Right now, though, thoughts from bestselling author and CEO of The Planetary Society, Bill Nye, the Science Guy:
Tomorrow, we will have a chance to experience a total eclipse of the sun. The moon, which itself is probably the product of a 4.5-billion-year-old celestial collision, will pass between us and our life-giving star, the sun.
If you're in the path of totality, day will turn to night. The heat of a summer midday will briefly turn cool. Stars, otherwise invisible during the day, will emerge from the darkness.
It's a wonderful, awe-inspiring interlude. But be safe! An eclipse can become so fascinating that one can end up staring right at the sun for minutes on end. As I'm sure you've heard, be sure to wear proper eye protection.
- How to view the 2017 solar eclipse safely (NASA)
- Complete CBSNews.com coverage: Great American Eclipse
This eclipse will pass right over the U.S. But a total solar eclipse can be celebrated by everyone on Earth.
Each of us can take a moment to consider the diligence of our ancestors -- Copernicus, Newton and Leavitt -- who came to understand our solar system's planets and moons, who measured the fantastic distances between them and came to know their orbital motions. I hope we all get a chance to see the bright beads of sunlight that appear as the mountains of the moon interrupt sunbeams. When Galileo pointed out that the moon is an imperfect sphere marked by spires and valleys, he was imprisoned.
We've come a long way. That we humble humans can understand all of this is remarkable, and despite all the troubles around us today, it fills me with optimism about our species and our future.
Modern astronomers predict eclipses like this one with an accuracy that no psychic, no faith healer, no tarot card reader can approach. For most of us, tomorrow's eclipse will be a once-in-a-lifetime event. Delight in its beauty.
But also, appreciate that our science got us here.
I hope this brief period reminds us all that we share a common origin among the stars and that we are all citizens of the same planet. Tomorrow, let's celebrate being alive right now, in this universe, and marvel at humankind's ability to observe this phenomenon, and to understand the cosmos and our place within it.
For more info:
- Bill Nye the Science Guy (Official site)
- Follow @TheScienceGuy on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube
- "Everything All at Once: How to Unleash Your Inner Nerd, Tap into Radical Curiosity and Solve Any Problem" by Bill Nye (Rodale); Also available in eBook, Digital Audio Download and Audio CD formats
- The Planetary Society