Space Racers thanks its fans and partners for a tremendous August Eclipse program, helping kids to safely view the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse!

What Happens During an Eclipse?

Eclipse Bird

On Monday, August 21st, 2017, a solar eclipse occurred across the continental United States, with a diagonal path of totality running Northwest-to-Southeast (click here to view an Eclipse map). This was the first total solar eclipse seen in the continental U.S. in almost forty years.

Depending on how old your parents are, they may never have experienced an event like this. This year, the first ones in the U.S. to experience the eclipse were people in Oregon. At around 10:15 AM (Pacific Daylight Time), the sky got dark for almost two minutes for those located in the path of totality, a 66-mile-wide band of the moon’s umbral shadow cast on Earth. This is how you know the eclipse is happening! In South Carolina, the total eclipse started around 2:42 PM (Eastern Daylight Time).

The Moon passed in front of the Sun and blocked most sunlight from reaching the Earth. If you are in the path of totality, the sky became totally dark, as if it were twilight. For partial eclipse viewers, there was a pronounced dimming of sunshine, but it was still distinctly daylight. You may have noticed that shadows became very crisp.

Not only does the sky get dark, but there are other changes, too, that happen during an eclipse. If you listen closely while you are watching the solar eclipse, you might even notice that birds outside stop singing because they think it is time for bed. Though humans cannot communicate directly with animals to hear exactly what they are thinking, scientists have spent a lot of time observing them during past eclipses. Typically, the darkness of an eclipse tricks wild animals into thinking it is nighttime, so they will get confused. In addition, during the totality, you’ll feel the temperature drop a few degrees and may even feel a slight breeze.

The next total solar eclipse to go through the continental United States will be on April 8, 2024. The path of totality will move from the Southwest to the Northeast U.S. for that one!

More Eclipse Resources

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What is an Eclipse

When the moon passes directly between the Earth and the Sun…

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Eclipse Safety

Never look directly at the sun, as it could damage your eyes…

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Eclipse Resources

If you would like to read more about the August 2017 solar eclipse

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