We are having a sun-moon-earth syzygy on Monday August 21, 2017 throughout North America. Although it will only be a partial eclipse in Canada, most places in the States will be able to enjoy the view of a total eclipse.
There are a lot interesting questions regarding the upcoming solar eclipse from around 12 pm EST to 3 pm EST. Although not being able to view it due to me being in another continent, I thought I would just share some thoughts about it, and some advice for myself in the future if I have the chance to.
Firstly, one should NEVER EVER EVER look directly at the sun. It is a bad idea as the radiation invisible to our eyes will literally destroy our eyes. Unless you don’t care about being blind for the rest of your life. No, sunglasses do not help, either. Most sunglasses are designed to block out electromagnetic radiation that is visible to our eyes only, so it will also destroy our eyes with the exact same reason above. If you do not have an equipment to safely view the phenomenon, here is a link that allows one to view it indirectly. (Or you can choose same day delivery on Amazon, be quick, you have a few hours left!)
Secondly, a lot of people wonders why the solar eclipse does not occur every month. To explain it very simply, the plane of rotation of the earth around the sun and the plane of rotation of the moon around the earth are not parallel. If you prefer a pictorial explanation, XKCD has drawn one, and yes, it is a very clear answer.
Lastly, my friends asked me why I refer to the celestial phenomenon as syzygy. There is no reason for this, I just find the word really cute. As a bonus, I will share my favourite picture about syzygies. It is the sun-earth-moon, sun-moon-earth, and apocalyptic (moon-sun-earth) syzygy from top to bottom respectively. Enjoy.