On Monday, a rare natural phenomenon is coming to the United States. As the moon, Earth, and sun align, the moon will completely block out the sun, casting a shadow on parts of the Earth and causing a total solar eclipse that will be seen from Oregon to South Carolina.
Everyone in the U.S. will at least see a partial solar eclipse, but to fully experience it, you’ll have to be in the 70-mile-wide path of totality that 14 states will be in. You can figure out how much of the eclipse you’ll see by checking out this interactive map.
Although the total solar eclipse will last only a few minutes at maximum, some employers may not see the big deal. So the sky is darkening? OK, get back to work.
If your skeptical co-workers say “so what?” you can tell them “so this.” Eclipses are a rare moment of cosmic serendipity that can raise good will amongst employees and create memories that will last beyond this event.
Here are a few ways you can convince your boss and your company you need to take a few minutes off to see this eclipse:
If you’re on the fence about taking a break to watch the moon block the sun, let an astronomer whom Ladders talked with convince you. Dr. Jay Pasachoff, an astronomer at Williams College who has seen 33 total solar eclipses, calls seeing a total solar eclipse an “unforgettable experience.”
“To be in totality is complete inspiring in that these dramatic phenomena arouse a primal fear that the sun is being extinguished in the middle of the day,” he said.
As Annie Dillard explained in her 1982 essay on seeing a total solar eclipse, the event is so mind-blowing, it can inspire screams.
“People on all the hillsides, including, I think, myself, screamed when the black body of the moon detached from the sky and rolled over the sun,” she wrote. “This was the universe about which we have read so much and never before felt: the universe as a clockwork of loose spheres flung at stupefying, unauthorized speeds.”
But what’s the value for those not in the path of totality? Admittedly, watching a partial eclipse is “not exciting at all,” Pasachoff said. “But it is interesting a little bit to look through a filter and see that there’s a bite out of the sun and that it changes very slowly over a couple of hours.”
But really if you can, go see a total solar eclipse over a partial one, he said.
“It’s like putting your family in a car and going 70 percent of the way to Disney World. It’s just disappointing that you haven’t gone all the way and you’ve missed the main event,” Pasachoff said about seeing a partial eclipse. “You’re not inside the theme park unless you’re in totality.”
It will be a very long time until the next one
If you’re in the path of totality, this eclipse will last no longer than about two minutes, 40 seconds. It shouldn’t be that hard of a sell to take a break that’s shorter than your average lunch break.
But if you miss the 2017 total solar eclipse, you’ll have to wait until 2024 to see it again in the U.S.
If you’re in a place of totality on Monday, realize that you’re very lucky. It takes 375 years for a total solar eclipse to occur again in the same spot on average.
It could be a community-building event for the office
If the science of an eclipse is somehow uninteresting, take a look at the business incentives to take part in one.
Many have said that they feel like there’s no time in our workday for breaks or vacations. But taking a break away from our desks is good for our body and mind. Research has found that frequent breaks are key to being successful in the office.
And if you think you can’t mix work and play? Think again. One study found that people who did an enjoyable activity right before working reported just as much enjoyment as the group who had fun after work.
Eclipses are a special event that can inspire awe and cheer just by having people looking up. This is a low-cost, big-win scenario.
“The amount of good will you’ll get from letting your employees see this event for 20 minutes will strengthen your bond with them and improve your bottom-line,” Pasachoff said.
Do you want to be remembered as the boss who stopped your employees from seeing a breathtaking site of nature that may only be seen once in their lifetime? Think wisely.