Many things are happening in the universe as its busy bodies move and rotate; one of it is the formation of eclipses, which happens when one body gets into the shadow of another. The two types of eclipse on the earth are the eclipse of the sun and the eclipse of the moon. You might wonder what these eclipses are worth, but it’s during their observations that people have come to know most of the hidden mysteries about the universe, for example, it’s when observing the moon during an eclipse that people came to know that the shape of the earth is round.
These discoveries continue to happen all the time; in December 2011 a further discovery of how fast the moon’s day-side cools, was discovered by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. This was found during a lunar eclipse, and such data was used by scientists to interpret more about the moon’s surface – flat surfaces cool faster. It’s also during a solar eclipse that scientists can study the sun’s corona – the top layer of the sun.
On Monday, August 21, 2017, people in the Northern America were treated to one of the nature’s most awe-inspiring sights; it was a celestial light show like no other when the moon covered the sun completely, revealing the suns corona in a total solar eclipse. Those directly in its path were the ones who saw a total eclipse, while the rest saw a partial solar eclipse where part of the sun’s disk is covered by the moon.
Many people were high in anticipation to experience the moment which was widely referred to as the Great American Eclipse, and there was a good reason to have it named so. America has not had a total eclipse in recent years, as the last was experienced on February 26, 1979. At that time the north-western part of the country experienced a total solar eclipse when the shadow of the moon passed over it. This year, the lucky people who were in its path, from South Carolina to Oregon, will forever remember the day. Mexico and Canada were not left out, but they only experienced a partial eclipse.
Why did the eclipse touch the United States alone? That’s nature’s own secret, but it was truly the Great America Eclipse. Another reason why the name fits the description is about the unfolding events after the eclipse left American space. To make sure that others would not experience the wonder, the moon’s shadow travelled over the Atlantic and disappeared before getting to Africa, and therefore remains a one of its kind eclipse which only touched one Country – the US. Another total eclipse almost similar to this happened in 1918, which was also experienced in America, but unlike the Great American Eclipse, it also visited the Bahamas.
The other times the US has tasted these rare universe goodies were on June 13, 1257, which also went over the Hawaiian Islands, April 13, 804, January 26, 529and January 21, 502, when America was also visited by a total solar eclipse which touched a slice of Newfoundland as well. On July 29, 436, though, a total solar eclipse similar to the Great American Eclipse happened exclusively on the US mainland. Now, after August this year, America will have to wait until January 25, 2316, to experience such privileges.
The happenings of August 21 were spectacular, and people did not waste a moment of it. It was widely talked about, and when the moment arrived, people had their cameras clicking, films rolled and journalist televised every moment as it unfolded. It cast 2 minutes of darkness from West to East, which started in the middle of the North Pacific Ocean, casting a shadow of a radius of around 70 miles. Some had to make travel arrangements to make sure they found themselves at the center of the path of beauty and wonder, and surely none was disappointed.
This was good news to America and the world at large, as those from other countries also caught it live through various media platforms. A total solar eclipse is a marvel to behold, and we can only wait to appreciate such occurrences when they unfold. For scientists, they take that moment to learn one more thing about the surface of the sun and to the rest of the people, the 2 minutes of darkness during the day remains memorable.
But always remember never to watch the sun directly with your naked eyes during a solar eclipse, you can have your eyes permanently damaged. There is equipment available for protecting your eyes if you want to watch the sun during a solar eclipse.