The 2017 Eclipse to Look Out For

A solar eclipse is one of nature’s breathtaking phenomenon. It is truly a spectacle, an astronomical grandeur no less. Witnessing one in person is easily an achievement in life by itself. The year 2017 had this event in our horizon on August 21. And while we can have more such solar eclipses this year, there have only been as few as magnificent as the 2017 one.

What are solar eclipses anyway?

A solar eclipse is an event wherein the moon happens to pass directly between the sun and the earth. Since the sun is our primary source of light, it casts a shadow of the moon over the earth in such an event. If you happen to be in the area where the shadow falls, you get to see a wondrous sight.

The moon gradually starts blocking the sun. It looks a bit like a pie getting eaten slowly, but surely. You can actually see a huge shadow approaching like a storm. When the moon completely blocks out the sun, a bright ring of light surrounds the darkened side of the moon. Reminds you of the Lord of The Rings.

When the moon starts to move along, an immensely bright spot appears on the side which starts clearing up. The entire effect looks like a brilliant diamond ring. The ‘diamond’ increases in intensity and size, until the ‘pie’ is slowly revealed.

The Aztecs used to perform a sacrifice to the ‘sun’ god in order to make it rain. It was supposed to save them from the droughts and revive their farms. You don’t have to do that, however.

Here is a little more about how it went down by Veritasium (who saw it much better than I did):

The 2017 Solar Eclipse: Why Was it Special?

Sure, we have plenty of solar eclipses around the world – so that made the solar eclipse last year so much more special? It had all the ingredients for any other solar eclipse, after all, right?

But this eclipse was special for the US. This is because the eclipse stretched entirely from one coast to another across the USA staggering number of people were able to watch this across an impressive 14 states in total.

Since this special event is a first of its kind since 1918, it was the most anticipated one in the world, People all over are expected to watch it exclusively, making it the most watched event in this year. Traffic jams were expected to flare up because it will last only for about 2 to 3 minutes.

2018 and Solar Eclipses

There aren’t many solar eclipses lined this year though we did witness one in February. However, there is one lunar Eclipse that you can look forward to, on June 27.

You can look out for some other special effects too. Like the sun’s corona which appears during totality, a brilliant star named Regulus, the planets Mars and Mercury near the sun and the amazing color of the sky all over the horizon!

Oh, and since you are waiting for the next one, do not forget to wear glasses when it does happen – you really don’t want to damage your eyes.

Written by Rob Nelson

Rob is an ecologist from the University of Hawaii. He is the co-creator and director of Untamed Science. His goal is to create videos and content that are entertaining, accurate, and educational. When he's not making science content, he races whitewater kayaks and works on Stone Age Man.

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