The sun is about to spill some of its secrets, maybe even reveal a few hidden truths of the cosmos.
Astronomers are going full blast to pry even more science from the mysterious ball of gas that's vital to Earth. They'll look from the ground, using telescopes, cameras, binoculars and whatever else works. They'll look from the International Space Station and a fleet of 11 satellites in space. And in between, they'll fly three planes and launch more than 70 high-altitude balloons.
"We expect a boatload of science from this one," said Jay Pasachoff, a Williams College astronomer who has travelled to 65 eclipses of all kinds.
Scientists will focus on the sun, but they will also examine what happens to Earth's weather, to space weather, and to animals and plants on Earth as the moon totally blocks out the sun. The moon's shadow will sweep along a narrow path, from Oregon to South Carolina.
Between NASA and the National Science Foundation, the U.S. federal government is spending about $7.7 million on next Monday's eclipse. One of the NASA projects has students launching the high-altitude balloons to provide "live footage from the edge of space" during the eclipse.
But it's not just the professionals or students. NASA has a list of various experiments everyday people can do.
"Millions of people can walk out on their porch in their slippers and collect world-class data," said Matt Penn, an astronomer at the National Solar Observatory in Tucson, Arizona.
The spectacle is the first in 99 years to span the entire continental United States, will take place August 21.
The 2017 Perseids will peak on the night of August 12 and early morning hours of August 13. As (bad) luck would have it, this year, the moon turned full on August 7th, and it will be at a rather bright waning gibbous phase several nights later which might make viewing the meteor shower a little difficult this weekend. Here's some tips on viewing the annual celestial event from timeanddate.com:
Over the next year and a half, Alan Bekerman plans to grow his healthy fast-food chain Iq Food Co. from five to up to 11 locations and not a single one will accept cash.
"It was one less thing that we had to think about, which is a huge benefit," says Bekerman, who tested the idea at two locations last year before expanding the pilot to all five of his Toronto eateries.
He's one of a growing number of retailers who believe shunning cash helps customers as it speeds up service and frees up staff to focus on less mundane tasks.
It's a choice some in the industry say is likely to become more commonplace as tap-and-pay cards and digital wallets increasingly replace bills and coins.
It's something DavidsTea co-founder David Segal is banking on, after recently opening the doors to his Mad Radish restaurant venture where he has a no-cash policy in place at both Ottawa locations.
"I just feel like the benefits are enormous and so why not try it?" says Segal, who aligns faster service with better customer experience.
"Cash is significantly down as a preferred payment device," says Angela Brown, CEO of Moneris Solutions.
In the second quarter of 2017, 39.5 per cent of payment transactions used tap-and-pay methods, according to data from the debit and credit payment processor. That's up from 30.86 per cent the year before. Moneris predicts that figure will jump to 50 per cent by the end of the year.
Last year, the company predicted cash purchases will compose only one-tenth of all money spent in Canada by 2030.