Destinations

10 solar eclipse fun facts to share with your friends

How much do you really know about a solar eclipse? — Photo courtesy of RomoloTavani / iStock Via Getty Images Plus

On April 8, a total solar eclipse will travel across the United States and be visible from parts of 13 states: Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.

We reached out to scientists and representatives from various museums and science centers along the path of totality for the 2024 solar eclipse and asked them to share some of their favorite solar eclipse facts.

Einstein’s theory of relativity was proven during an eclipse

During a solar eclipse in 1919, Arthur Eddington was able to test (and prove) Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity by observing the position of the stars in relation to the sun. — Angela Speck, professor of astrophysics at The University of Texas at San Antonio

The temperature will drop during a total eclipse

During a total eclipse, the temperature shifts dramatically. This shift will vary based on location, but it will drop about 10 degrees Fahrenheit on average. — Dan Schneiderman, eclipse partnerships coordinator at the Rochester Museum and Science Center, a 2022 USA TODAY 10Best Readers’ Choice Award winner for Best Science Museum

Total eclipses are rare but not that rare

We think of total eclipses as rare but the occurrence of an eclipse isn’t actually that rare. A total eclipse occurs about once every 18 months. However, since Earth is 70% water, most eclipses occur over the open sea with very few people observing them. — Don Riefler, science programs manager at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, a multi-year winner for Best Children’s Museum in the USA TODAY 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards

Viewing an eclipse in the same location happens only once in lifetime

While a total eclipse is not rare, the opportunity to observe an eclipse from the same location is incredibly rare. A total solar eclipse takes about 375 years to happen again in the same location. — Sommer Murphy, an early learner specialist at The Museum of Discovery in Little Rock, Arkansas, a past USA TODAY 10Best Readers’ Choice Award winner for Best Children’s Museum

Wildlife will respond to the shifting light of an eclipse

As the partial eclipse progresses and the sky darkens, birds will begin their early evening routine of flocking/swarming and chirping loudly. As we plunge into the darkness of totality, birds will land and go quiet. — Speck at The University of Texas at San Antonio

You’ll see Baily’s Beads moments before totality

In the seconds before totality occurs, it will seem like light is dancing on the sides of the moon. This phenomenon, known as Baily’s Beads, was named after a 19th century English astronomer, Francis Baily. It occurs when the moon’s craters and valleys break up the light. — Schneiderman at Rochester Museum and Science Center

Eclipses mean different things to different cultures

Different cultures have their interpretations of eclipses. In ancient China, dragons were said to be eating the sun. People would bang on drums to frighten the dragons away. In Navajo culture, eclipses are seen as a time for rebirth and quiet reflection. — Lakeisha Harding, director of equitable evaluation and impact, Thinkery Austin

Stars and planets will be visible

If you’re located in an area with little light pollution, you’ll be able to see some of the brightest stars, like Orion, and even a few planets — notably Jupiter and Venus. — Schneiderman at Rochester Museum and Science Center

Eventually Earth won’t have eclipses

This is a unique time in Earth’s history. The moon is moving about an inch away from the Earth each year. The distances between the Earth and the moon and the Earth and the sun make their sizes appear almost the same, allowing for the occurrence of total eclipses. Eventually, Earth will only get annular eclipses. — Riefler at Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

Just like tornado chasers, eclipse chasers also exist

Known as umbraphiles, which means shadow lovers, eclipse chasers are known to plan their world travels around pursuing eclipses. They use a variety of tools to observe eclipses in different ways and from various perspectives, such as from an airplane or in a forest. — Harding at Thinkery Austin

Source link

Share with your friends!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get more stuff like this
in your inbox

Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox.

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.