A total solar eclipse returns to the United States after seven years

A total solar eclipse returns to the United States after seven years

A total solar eclipse has happened in the United States on April 8, 2024. It is a very rare event.

News Published 2024.04.22 | Ryan Lee 


A total solar eclipse has crossed the United States on Monday, April 8th of the year 2024. It is the first total solar eclipse to cross the Northern American continent in seven years, and the next total solar eclipse that crosses the same region will happen after twenty years. The event has drawn great international attention, which can be observed in the sharp increase of tourist activities within the United States. For example, it has been reported that the number of Airbnb listings have increased by 1,000 percent.


A solar eclipse is a celestial event that occurs when the Moon moves between the Sun and Earth, casting a shadow on Earth’s surface. For eye safety, people must always wear eclipse glasses when looking at the sun, a special type of glasses that are 100,000 times darker than ordinary sunglasses, blocking almost all visible, infrared, and ultraviolet light. The only exception would be during a total solar eclipse, where the sun is completely hidden.

(Photo = NASA JPL)

There are three main types of solar eclipses: partial, annular, and total. Just like the name suggests, a partial solar eclipse is when the Moon only hides certain parts of the sun. An annular solar eclipse occurs when the angular diameter of the Moon is not large enough to fully hide the sun, causing it to look like a glowing ring. 

This phenomenon occurs due to the shape of the Moon's orbit. It is slightly elliptical, which makes the distance between the Moon and Earth change every time. That’s why phenomena such as supermoons and annular solar eclipses occur, as the Moon’s size in our point of view fluctuates depending on its distance.

A total solar eclipse occurs when the Moon’s angular diameter is large enough to fully obscure the sun, making the corona visible to the naked eye. The corona is the outermost layer of the sun’s atmosphere that extends far into outer space. Its existence is the reason why we always draw a border of fire that surrounds the sphere when we draw the sun. Total solar eclipses provide opportunity for valuable scientific observations, allowing scientists to have a deeper understanding of the sun’s corona.

Although solar eclipses are a monthly event like lunar eclipses, they are local, and thus only cross some parts of Earth when it happens. Alongside that, total solar eclipses only last for a few minutes, which is why it is considered a very rare event. Unfortunately, the next total solar eclipse that will directly cross the majority of South Korea will not happen until the year 2187. Despite lasting for such a short time, the fascinating view a solar eclipse can generate is the reason why people from different parts of the world travel just to view this event.

#eclipse #usa #sun #space #earth #moon #solar #science

Ryan Lee (rlee2027@chadwickschool.org)

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