Total Solar Eclipse


By Robert Marshall

Historical In Our Lifetime

If you follow celestial events, you have probably already marked August 21, 2017 on your calendar. That’s the day a total solar eclipse will cast a 70-mile-wide shadow across a number of areas in the United States.

The eclipse will first be visible near the coast of Oregon at about 10:15 a.m. PT before the visibility range moves to the southeast through Salem, Idaho Falls, Kansas City, St. Louis and Nashville before finishing its route near Charleston, South Carolina around 2:45 p.m. ET.

Anyone in the direct path of the Moon’s shadow will experience a once-in-a-lifetime total eclipse of the Sun, and people throughout the continental United States as well as parts of Canada and Mexico will be able to see a partial eclipse.

What’s Going to Happen?

As the Sun, Moon and Earth come into alignment, a lunar shadow will be cast onto the Earth’s surface. When the Moon first comes between the Earth and the Sun, the solar disk will appear as if someone took a bite out of it. As the transit continues, the sky will become darker and darker, and anyone watching from the top of a hill may be able to see the totality shadow as it approaches.

For approximately two minutes when the Moon is directly in front of the Sun, it will appear to be night – the air and ground will cool and nocturnal animals may awaken. After a few minutes, the Moon will move past the Sun and the sunlight will return.

Words of Caution

While the eclipse will be a beautiful event to watch, it’s important to never look directly at the sun without special protective eyewear. Your Fisher Science Education Sales Representative can help you find the right eyewear to safely watch the eclipse. Also check online to see when the event will begin in your time zone, and hope for good weather that doesn’t block your view!

Discussion Questions

  • Why is it important not to look directly at the sun during an eclipse?
  • When and where are the next visible solar or lunar eclipses happening near you? 
  • Totality 
  • Eclipse 
  • Lunar