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tv   BBC News Special  BBC News  August 21, 2017 6:00pm-6:31pm BST

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‘ blocks out, is blocked completely blocks out, is blocked out by the moon on the oregon coast, in15 out by the moon on the oregon coast, in 15 minutes. you are watching the bbc news special. this is the total solar eclipse happening across america. skywatchers are in place to watch the spectacular sight. people in oregon are watching it right now. we will bring you it live as it happens. millions in america will have a ringside seat for this first total eclipse in the us for almost 100 years. seeing a total solar eclipse is like meeting god. and i am in hopkinsville, kentucky. these are the best seats in the house. nasa has said this is the point of the greatest eclipse. over the next 30 minutes we will be speaking to experts and skywatchers as a0 states become shrouded in complete
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blackout. hello, it is as rare as it is spectacular, total solar eclipse. millions will see the moment when the moon passes in front of the sun and dave turns tonight. it is the first time in 99 years when the darkness will cross from the pacific to the atlantic coast. this is set to the atlantic coast. this is set to be the most photographed and documented eclipse in history. this is the sight of a huge chunk of the son disappeared now by the moon. we have seen bit by bit over the last little while, more and more of the sun being obliterated as we prepare
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for the moment of totality when the sun disappears. we can go to the space scientist maggie aderin—pocock whojoins us on space scientist maggie aderin—pocock who joins us on the line from albany. thank you forjoining us. how excited are you? albany. thank you forjoining us. how excited are you ?|i albany. thank you forjoining us. how excited are you? i am excited. we came out this morning and it was a bright day. the sun is still shining but it is chillier. it is bright sunshine but it is not quite right. when i looked through my solar eclipse glasses there is just a sliver of sun. the smile on my face is huge. it is incredibly exciting. is it already getting darker? it is. it is funny because it is bright. it is not quite bright enough. it is bright but not quite bright enough because the sun has disappeared and yet it is
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significantly bright because although there is only six of the sun left, it is still a sunny day. i have my seven—year—old daughter here and she has the cheshire cat smile as well. it is her first solar eclipse so she is very excited. tell us more eclipse so she is very excited. tell us more about getting the view. it isa us more about getting the view. it is a very narrow belt as you get across these ia states where you get this moment of totality? it is. i'm working down in california but over the last week we have been working oui’ the last week we have been working our way to further north to get to totality. i think we will get about one minutes and 52 seconds. the maximum trap you can get is two minutes and four seconds. we are pretty close to that. many people will be seeing it partial but seeing it in totality is where the real magic is. the moon will be the same
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size in the sky ‘s the sun. you will see the amazing prominences around the sun. i have seen it once before and it blew my socks off. i cannot wait to see it again. we are looking at pictures which have come from nasa where you saw the golden sun moments before it flicked back to the lives shot in oregon. there are so the lives shot in oregon. there are so many people and telescopes focused on this event. how many people have gathered around with you? albany is quite a small town. there are probably about a thousand people. people have cameras, telescopes, solar states and solar eclipse glasses. everyone is admiring the view and waiting for that moment of totality. we have our lucky as we have clear sky. we are in the dial —— we are in the ideal
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spot. thank you for talking to us and over the next half an hour as we watch these pictures come in. i am joined by doctor ellison drake from the royal astronomical society. we will go straight to kentucky now where neda tawfik was there with some people now. what is it like? we actually had an announcement. we all looked up in the sky because we have had first contact. you can see a little bit of a sliver of the sun. everyone is throwing on their eclipse glasses. the weather is absolutely perfect. with me are shane and ginny simmons. they have travelled all the way from texas. we drove ten hours to get here so we are really excited. it was so
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interesting what you talked about, how mind—boggling it is to imagine everything to work out. the fact we are in the perfect spot in the universe for the eclipse and that the moon is one aooth the size of the moon is one aooth the size of the sun, which is also 400 miles. nasa calls it a cosmic coincidence. what have you been doing? driving up, trying to stay cool and making sure i have my glasses on to watch the eclipse and having fun. and getting to know different people around here. that is a lot of fun. have you ever experienced an event like this before? i have been to two super bowls and this is a lot
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better. i can always go to another one and this is once—in—a—lifetime. iron experience you guys have never experienced a solar eclipse before? never. what are you anticipating? i think everyone has seen a partial eclipse but it is nothing compared toa eclipse but it is nothing compared to a total eclipse. i have read everything in the books and magazines and the internet and i am extremely excited to see the shadow and the darkness that will cover this. it is sweltering now and they say the temperature will drop. this is the perfect location almost to view that? is that the reason why you chose this farm into boy—macro? we drove all the way to hopkinsville because it is where the moon will cover the greatest proportion of the suit cover the greatest proportion of the sun anywhere in the world today. and if you are not here, sorry, you
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should have been here. it is only one in 100 years so it is wonderful. and what about the community around you. this has been a great chance for people to get to know each other and takea for people to get to know each other and take a break from their daily routine. there are people from all over the country, from wisconsin and down south. there are a lot of festivals going on in nearby to boy— macro. everybody is celebrating. friendly people, very kind, sweet —— a lot going on in nearby hopkinsville. and four you will this bea hopkinsville. and four you will this be a religious experience, and experience of mother nature, what is this for you? why was it so important to travel such a long way to make sure you had the best of you? it is our anniversary. it is also our anniversary. it is not really a religious thing to me that
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it is the perfect spot in the universe today to be. it is a once—in—a—lifetime event. universe today to be. it is a once-in-a-lifetime event. you said this is like a religious experience? macro oh, yes, our saviour and creator, lord jesus christ, it is important. ice pick to one person who saw a total solar clips, he said he was not religious but he compared seeing one to seeing god. you are in texas, the next solar eclipse will be in texas in 202a. iu still planning for that? seven years in april. why don't we take a moment to see what the progression is like now. how is it looking? the small sliver is probably 5% of the top right corner. it is a slow
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progression. i am still waiting for it to get to totality. that will be really interesting. and all around you can see on this small family farm everyone is looking up into the sky because that is where the big show is. and nasa, for people who will not be here, they will be live streaming the event around the world. do you guys have a lot of family who are jealous of you being here? oh, yes. people asked us to put it on facebook but we said they should drive up here. two minutes will be our time. it is two minutes and a0 seconds, you will enjoy that. no photos, it it will be just great. that is the simmons from texas.
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everyone is excited. thank you. in a moment we will show you the live pictures coming from oregon. you can see we're not that far—away. 1816 is the first moment in the united states where we will get totality. i read between last night saying tonnes of pressure on the moon to deliver today. millions are watching. watching today is elissa drake. we are not that far—away. i'm going to ask a stupid question first of all. here we have the sun a00 times the size of the moon, how does the moon block it out? this is one of the things we call a fantastic celestial coincidence, the fact that the moon is so much closer to us than the sun means that when the moon passes in front of the sun it pretty much blocks out the face of the sun and thatis blocks out the face of the sun and that is a spectacular sight to see for everybody. historically, people
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have been fascinated by this. yes, since the beginning of time people have been able to observe eclipses. before we had the technology to study them stop it was a pretty frightening experience for people. they had no idea what it was as it went dark and animals were utterly confused by it? yes, even now animals get a little bit upset during the total solar eclipse. they think night time has arrived all of a sudden. and then at twilight they will go quiet. you have seen one yourself? i was lucky to see the almost total eclipse back in 1999 in the uk. it was a little bit cloudy on that day but it was a spectacular sight. before i ask the question, we
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look at the live pictures. bit by bit you see the sun disappearing. this is oregon. this scene is replicated across 1a states before it gets to south carolina as it goes coast—to—coast. it is really narrow belts. you have to be in this very small whip, this band of 70 miles across the united states to see this moment of totality. for the rest of the people they willjust moment of totality. for the rest of the people they will just see a shadow. state—by—state that will mark its way across america. what are scientists hoping to learn? the fantastic thing is for scientists based in the us, bits gives them a fantastic chance to study the outer layers of the sun, the fun‘s
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atmosphere and corona and this is pretty much the only time you can do that in such detail. it is an unprecedented experience for everyone. what are the questions scientists are looking for answers about because this is not in isolation, is it? all of this is linked, is relevant to us here on earth and questions like the weather, for example? exactly. it is studying the fun‘s rohner which will help us understand solar winds and the space weather which is when the solar wind comes and hits the earth's atmosphere and all kinds of things happen to our technology on so things happen to our technology on so it does have tangible effect. now i will switch to these pictures. i hate you take an intake of breath. it is glorious. these are pictures taken from an aircraft. i was saying
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in the introduction, they anticipate this will be the most photographed, the most watched, the most documented of total solar eclipses, beating the one that was in india and china almost a decade or so ago. it takes ten minutes or so for people who have witnessed one, it goes darker and you can see as i am speaking, it gets dimmer and dimmer. why don't you explain, you are the expert? depending on where you are watching from, it will be up for a slightly different amount of time. you are looking at something between one and two and a bit minutes. look at that, absolutely spectacular. this is really fantastic viewing for people in the usa. wow! you get
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these final few seconds where you get the edge, almost like a diamond ring. this is amazing. this is from nasa's plane. i was also reading earlier that the astronauts on the international space station will see this three different times. they are incredibly lucky! that is really nice. what is that that we are seeing? it looks like a spectrum. that is fantastic. is this live data? and then back to the nasa plane with people on board watching the most extraordinary pictures. 1a states this will go across. why is the duration of totality different from state to state? it depends on your viewing angle. some people will
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be plunged into darkness a bit longer than others but everyone will come back outside —— out the other side. we do not need to worry too much. it is slightly risky when you are there sky gazing. what is the best way for people to be watching all this? never ever look directly at the sun. if you're lucky enough to be observing this, the best thing to be observing this, the best thing to do is to try and project the image through a pinhole camera or use your special solar eclipse glasses which have been handed out. there it is. lovely. those are the pictures from the ground of this total solar eclipse. alyssa, do stay with me and look at those pictures
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and sit in awe. bob baer is in illinois. he is an expert who has seen this several times over. he is chair of the eclipse committee at southern illinois university. i interrupted myself. that is what they describe as the diamond ring moment. bob, iwill come they describe as the diamond ring moment. bob, i will come to you in a second. i got very excited about the diamond ring. is that coming from oregon? yes, that is on the ground. bob baer, i interrupted you. why is
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this the eclipse crossroads of america? we will see one eclipse today and another in april 20 2a. the intersection of the paths of the lines of totality are a few miles south of me in carbondale, illinois. you get two bites of the cherry. you have seen this before. give me an idea of how people react when they see this total solar eclipse?” idea of how people react when they see this total solar eclipse? i saw my first total solar eclipse in indonesia with a group of people. i was doing research but once i got my research going, i was excited to see it myself. some people cheer, others get emotional. they do not know what to understand when they see the corona up in the sky. i am interested to see the different reactions. part of the project you
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run involved scientists and students all working together to track eclipses. how does it give you extra data and how does it all work? imb illinois coordinator and we have 68 volunteer teams across the country all taking data. we have one doing final calibrations. it is kind of a relay race across the country. they get totality date, they hand off to the next team and we have teams roughly every a0 miles across the country and we look to get continual coverage of the eclipse coast—to—coast. coverage of the eclipse coast-to-coast. it isjust staggering watching these pictures andi staggering watching these pictures and i am sure you are seeing it as we speak now. do you ever get tired
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of seeing something like this?” we speak now. do you ever get tired of seeing something like this? i do not. i cannot see exactly what you are seeing. i'm seeing the crowds filling in our stadium. are seeing. i'm seeing the crowds filling in ourstadium. we are seeing. i'm seeing the crowds filling in our stadium. wejust had first contact in carbondale. we have a sell—out 1a,000 people to watch this. i will never get tired of watching a total solar eclipse all looking at images of it. bob, give me an idea about the crowds. it is broadly the best places to watch this are not from the main american cities, it is dotted towns along the way across 1a states. where you are, carbondale, it is the longest, two minutes 38 seconds of darkness. just give me an idea of the amount of people who have been coming to these little places? here on campus we have two minutes 38 seconds. that is the exact timing at our stadium just south of here. the most accurate is
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two minutes a6 seconds. i don't even know if people can get down the road to get to some of those places. we have 1a,000 inside the stadium and a lot more people outside, people flooding into these areas across the country to see this. bob, briefly, because we are looking at the diamond ring. what are you hoping to learn from all of this, one sentence? a better idea of the interaction between the earth and the sun. thank you forjoining us for our special coverage. let's go back to alyssa drake. how long will it take scientists to find answers from all of the data coming in?” imagine that will be quite a feat actually. it will be several months of really intensive data analysis, i
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would imagine. it is a long period to get scientific results.” would imagine. it is a long period to get scientific results. i was reading comments by you earlier, you we re reading comments by you earlier, you were hoping that the fascination in this, the science involved, it was one of those things like music or sport that brings people together. tell me more about that?” sport that brings people together. tell me more about that? i really do think that the total solar eclipse isa think that the total solar eclipse is a fantastic way of getting people interested in astronomy, interested in science, and it brings together people from across the entire world. it isa people from across the entire world. it is a wonderful way of getting people to collaborate. this one in the united states, where are they anticipating the next total solar eclipse? it will be quite a long time and to the next total solar eclipse. 73 years from now in the uk. maybe something sooner in the us. so this is the moment to grab
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the data, see the pictures. this is the data, see the pictures. this is the moment. it is amazing as we continue to watch the pictures. how long does it take to go from one coast to the other? i am not sure how many hours it will be, one hour and a half i think to go from one to the other. whereas here in the uk it will be about a0 minutes long. the other. whereas here in the uk it will be about 40 minutes long. and you mentioned, it is interesting because at the very tail end of this, in europe, in england, in the northern parts of scotland, you will getan northern parts of scotland, you will get an element of this if you look 7 get an element of this if you look f get an element of this if you look up? if we are very lucky, depending on the weather, we might see a small bite taken out of the sun at around eight o'clock tonight in the uk.” wa nt to eight o'clock tonight in the uk.” want to go back to the moment of totality that we saw earlier, as we see the eclipse, the moon passing in front of the sun, and then we saw
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the glimpse of the sun from the other edge. i hope to get to those pictures in a few seconds just before we close. just as we continue to watch these pictures, we are nearly done for time, alyssa. just in terms of this moment, what do you make of a moment like this? what do i make of a moment like this? it brings to the forefront of your mind, philosophy, science and a sense of community. there you have some bit up! alyssa drake, thank you for being with me for the course of the last half an hour as we continue to see that ring at the moment of totality as this total solar eclipse continues to arc across america. thank you for watching on this bbc news special. continue to watch us as we continue to chart the events
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in america. goodbye for now. hello once again. if you want to see more of our live coverage there will be further coverage on the news channel with mikko ilonen in a couple of minutes or so. i have just seen couple of minutes or so. i have just seen the latest imagery coming out of oregon and the skies are clear. there was concern from the north—western states about the wildfires which have been plaguing these areas. there have been a lot of thunderstorms and reviewing chances are not much better than fair. then they improve as you come down towards the south—eastern quarter. there are banks of clouds just off the eastern shores of the carolinas. it may be that the eclipse goes over the usa on something of a whimper rather than a bang. let's cross the atlantic into the area of west africa where we have paid particular attention to
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the weather, not only around freetown but i should also highlight there have been devastating mudslides in the democratic republic of congo in the past two days. people are feared dead in that neck of the woods. we are in their highlight of the rainy season and there will be more torrential downpours. this area is the spawning ground for activity that we keep track but this time of the year in the atlantic and across the caribbean. these islands of clouds have the potential to turn into tropical storms, if not full—blown hurricanes. the couple of areas of concern, these may turn into tropical storms and hurricanes. tropical storm harvey has moved through the southern part of the caribbean. we expect to see heavy
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rain getting into belize and the yucca town. another area that has proved really tricky with regard to the weather in recent months is the indian monsoon which has worked its way across south asia which has brought devastation from india, nepal and bangladesh. coming closer to home into europe, this particular front has caused a lot of problems as it has worked its way from the alpine region of germany ever further to the east in europe. further south there is an u nfortu nate, further south there is an unfortunate, nation of seasonal heat and strong winds coming down through the adriatic. the mistrial is strong. fires are an inherent risk across southern parts of france and
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iberia has suffered badly. looking further north towards the british isles, low pressure very much the dominant feature with frontal systems not 1 million dominant feature with frontal systems not! million miles away. we have seen quite a bit of rainfall working across the northern part of britain. tuesday sees the remnants of rain easing its way further towards the north. following on behind, a lot of cloud but once it breaks, the potential is there for some warm. somewhere in england could see 25, 26 of possibly even 27.
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