Countdown to Darkness: Total Solar Eclipse

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Three months from today (May 21), a shadow of darkness will travel across the United States in the middle of the day. The portion of the country that falls under this shadow will experience a total solar eclipse, an incredible phenomenon that occurs when the moon completely covers the disk of the sun. Here are just a few of the things you’ll need to know as you count down to this rare experience.

On Aug. 21, 2017, the total solar eclipse will be visible along a 70-mile-wide (113 kilometers) band stretching from Oregon to South Carolina. The region where the moon completely covers the sun — called the “path of totality” — will pass through Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. Observers in the U.S. (including in Alaska and Hawaii) positioned outside of this band will be able to see a partial solar eclipse. The partial eclipse will also be visible from the rest of North America, Central America and part of South America.

Three months from today (May 21), a shadow of darkness will travel across the United States in the middle of the day. The portion of the country that falls under this shadow will experience a total solar eclipse, an incredible phenomenon that occurs when the moon completely covers the disk of the sun. Here are just a few of the things you’ll need to know as you count down to this rare experience.

On Aug. 21, 2017, the total solar eclipse will be visible along a 70-mile-wide (113 kilometers) band stretching from Oregon to South Carolina. The region where the moon completely covers the sun — called the “path of totality” — will pass through Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. Observers in the U.S. (including in Alaska and Hawaii) positioned outside of this band will be able to see a partial solar eclipse. The partial eclipse will also be visible from the rest of North America, Central America and part of South America.

A total solar eclipse on Earth is possible only because of a fortunate geometrical coincidence. The diameter of Earth’s moon is about 400 times smaller than the sun’s, but the sun lies about 400 times farther away than the planet’s satellite. As a result, the moon is just the right size to completely block the light from the sun

The duration of this summer’s total eclipse will depend on your location, but at most, it will last for 2 minutes and 40 seconds. This will happen along the center of the path of totality for only a few seconds.

More information can be found at http://www.space.com/33797-total-solar-eclipse-2017-guide.html

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