On Monday, August 21, the highly anticipated solar eclipse will turn day to night — the first of the celestial wonders to pass through our backyards in decades.
A solar eclipse is when the moon moves between the sun and Earth, blocking the sun and causing the sky to fall dark. For the eclipse on Monday, North America will be front and center for the spectacle.
Eclipses happen often, but viewing a solar eclipse in your backyard can be a once in a lifetime opportunity. A solar eclipse can take place every two to four years, however, the portion of the world that can view it each time is very slim. For some locations, viewing a total eclipse can take one hundred years.
A majority of the United States will see a partial eclipse, and those in the path of totality will see a total eclipse — where the sun is completely covered by the moon for a few brief minutes. According to the United States Department of Transportation, nearly 200 million people can make it to see the eclipse in the line of totality within a one-day drive. Here in the South Sound, we aren’t in perfect alignment to see a total eclipse, but we still will have a good view of the eclipse.
Things you didn’t know about the eclipse — according to scientists at NASA
- The last solar eclipse visible to the United States happened 38 years ago.
- Part of eclipse terminology, a “Diamond Ring” is the effect a few seconds before and after totality where the sunlight shines through.
- Since the year 1503, there have only been 15 solar eclipses that have crossed the same path that the August 17, 2017 eclipse will follow.
- The sun is actually 400 times wider than the moon, but also 400 times farther away. This difference in size and space makes them appear to be the same size when we look into the sky.
- The first successfully recorded solar eclipse was on October 22, 2134 B.C.E.