A total solar eclipse by itself isn't so unusual - the moon shades the Sun every 18 months, from the view of somewhere on Earth. But this year's "Great American Eclipse" was special simply for how much inhabited land it covered, crossing the length of America from Oregon to South Carolina. And that led to some amazing new scientific observations.
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Video: Folks yak a lot of crap about the High Plains -- mainly they complain about it being flat or boring as they drive down the infinitely straight highways. But a tour of places like Western Nebraska or South Dakota reveals a sublime landscape beneath a vast sky, accompanied by the humbling realisation that you are just one tiny human on this very big, stormy planet.
Though we may look back at Heroes as a superhero TV show that quickly petered out in terms of quality during later seasons, you really have to respect that original viral marketing campaign NBC used to promote it. "Save the cheerleader, save the world." That helix symbol. And of course, the eclipse.
Image Cache: If you're reading this post, congratulations on following basic instructions and not burning out your retinas while watching today's eclipse. For a few hours, folks across America could put aside the myriad horrors of this year and stare at the hot ball of gas literally keeping us all alive. It was actually quite pleasant!
Oh my god, he really did it. President Trump really did the one thing you're not supposed to do during a solar eclipse.
Solar eclipses are certainly one of the most striking astrophysical phenomena. The most important light of the day, the Sun, gets blacked out by the most important light of the night. But there's actually nothing weird or surprising about that -- sure, eclipses are rare, but with the Moon close and the Sun far away, sometimes one gets in the way of the other. But who cares? How is that different than a plane flying over your house?
Eclipse fever is raging across the United States. Eclipse glasses and hotel rooms are selling out. Seemingly every university in the country has issued a press release in case I had somehow forgotten that, despite happening fairly regularly somewhere on Earth, this time the Moon is going to block out the sun in AMERICA.
On Monday local time, the Great American Eclipse will sweep across the United States. While a total solar eclipse may appear otherworldly and ethereal, there is a ton of science to suggest it is totally normal. But as evidenced by posts on Craiglist and other dark corners of the internet, mounds of scientific evidence won't stop people from believing some pretty bizarre eclipse myths -- mostly, ones that involve sex and/or death.
In just over a week the US will experience its first total solar eclipse in nearly 40 years. Seeing as staring at the sun, even while it is obscured by the moon, for any length of time can be extremely hazardous up to and including the point of severe eye damage or blindness, it's not a suggestion to buy eclipse glasses that meet minimum safety standards. It's pretty much mandatory.
On August 21, millions of Earthlings will gather to watch as a total solar eclipse sweeps across the centerline of the United States over the course of 90 minutes. For many, it will be once-in-a-life-time spectacle. Unfortunately, it won't be visible in Australia. But if you had a spacecraft on hand, you wouldn't need to wait decades for the next total solar eclipse to arrive at a town near you -- you could simply jet off to Mars, Jupiter, Saturn or even Pluto. That's because there's a veritable zoo of solar eclipses occurring all across our solar system, all the time.