That’s right. It actually does turn dark, like nighttime, right in the middle of the day.
But the 2017 Solar Eclipse is quite rare. To say it’s unusual is a wild understatement. Take a trip down this page to learn some of the “wow” facts and stats that make this event so spectacular.
And then test your Eclipse Know-How with our quiz.
First things first: It’s not nice to stare (you’ll burn your eyes out).
According to NASA, the Sun can be viewed safely with the naked eye only during the few brief minutes of a total solar eclipse. That phase is called “totality” and it’s when the moon is perfectly centered over the Sun.
The best and safest way to view the eclipse at any phase other than “Totality” is by using special eclipse viewing glasses. The Sun is still too bright, intense and exposed to observe without the proper protection.
“Just the USA Ma’am
(And Nothing But the US).”
The last time that a full eclipse touched the land now known as the Unites States (and ONLY the United States — not any other island or any other country) was in June of 1257.
That’s before the United States even existed!
You can just catch the next one… in about 299 years.
Scientists predict that the next time that the United States only (no other islands and no other countries) will experience a total solar eclipse will be on July 29, 2316.
Two Circles… One’s 400 times the size of the other
… and yet they’re exactly the same. Makes total sense.
By an amazing coincidence, the moon’s apparent size in our sky will be almost exactly the same as the sun’s.
The size of the moon, the speed with which the moon and sun appear to move in our sky and the phases of the moon all come together to produce the right to left motion of the moon coming across the sun in our northern hemisphere skies.
Like the biggest shade tree. Ever.
NASA projects that the shadow cast by the moon during totality in the 2017 eclipse will be a little over 70 miles wide.
That might seem mighty impressive… however, it also means that the area for viewing totality is quite limited and you will want to be certain to select a viewing area that is well within that shadow.
So can I look right at the Sun or not?
Only during totality! That’s when you’ll see it perfectly covered by a black circle (the moon). The corona is the only part of the sun that you can view with the naked eye during a total solar eclipse.
The corona is the outer atmosphere of the sun. During totality, it appears as a dim white light reaching out around the black disk of the moon.
Of the 5 Phases of the Solar Eclipse,
which one is “Totality”
The word “Totality” is Eclipse Lingo that refers to the amount of time the sun is completely covered by the moon.
Totality is the third of the 5 phases of a total solar eclipse. During this phase, only the sun’s corona is visible. At this time, the sky goes completely dark, like it is night time. The temperature may begin to fall and birds and animals will quiet as though it is time for sleep.
Answer some questions. Get free glasses.
You are ready.
Test Your Knowledge. Win a Free Pair of Eclipse Viewing Glasses.
The quiz is fun — and easy (if you got this far). See how you score and share your results with your friends on Facebook and Twitter.