On August 21, 2017, Indiana University and the Bloomington Community will have the chance to witness the exciting phenomenon of a partial solar eclipse (since Bloomington is not in the direct line of the total solar eclipse)! Even though we will not be able to see a total solar eclipse, it is still exciting, important, and overall interesting to learn about eclipses, and how they work! So let's answer the ultimate question: what exactly is a solar eclipse?
- The Phenomenon + How it Works
In order to understand the full effect of a solar eclipse, we need to first figure out what an eclipse is! According to NASA, an eclipse takes place when a planet or moon passes between another planet, moon or the sun (NASA.gov). Now, on August 21, 2017, The United States will be able to witness the significant phenonmenon of a total SOLAR eclipse (not to be mixed with lunar). This happens when the moon lines up with the earth and blocks the sun's radiant light, which casts a shadow on planet Earth!
- Who Sees What + Why
I bet you're wondering: why can't Bloomington see the total eclipse? I want to see the full thing!
Well, here's why: The sun is a very large star (about 433,000 miles in radius!). The moon, on the other hand, is much smaller (about 240,000 miles in radius). That's why the path, or the shadow, of the eclipse is smaller and larger in some parts. As the Earth spins, only certain sections of the US and world can see the eclipse at it's total shadow, or it's partial shadow.
- Fast Facts!
Total solar eclipses for a particular location are very rare, occurring on average once every 375 years.
- Totality is a unique experience, will last for 00:02:40.2 for the 2017 eclipse
- Everyone in the continental United States will see the eclipse
Last one in the United State was in 1979.
Last coast-to-coast eclipse was in 1918. This will be thefirst coast-to-coast eclipse after the creation of the interstate highway system