What Is a Solar Eclipse?

During the eclipse, people set up cameras to record the movement of the Moon over the Sun.

On April 8, 2024 many people in the U.S. experienced a total solar eclipse. A total eclipse is a rare event. They happen in the same location on Earth about once every 375 years. And this eclipse was even more special than most.

A solar eclipse happens when the Moon passes between Earth and the Sun. The Moon makes a shadow on Earth’s surface. As the Moon moved around Earth, different parts of the United States experienced the eclipse. It began in Mexico and moved northeast, crossing parts of 13 U.S. states. If you were in the path of the total solar eclipse, it became dark in the middle of the day.

This eclipse was special because the Sun was closer and more active than normal. The Sun was at the peak of its activity cycle, so it really put on a show. And because the Moon was closer to Earth, it appeared larger.

During the minutes of totality, the outer most parts of the Sun can be seen.

If you observed the 2024 eclipse, consider yourself lucky. The eclipse crossed a very small part of Earth. The next major eclipse in the U.S. is 20 years away and it will follow a different path.

What Do You Think?   Did you see the eclipse? Why or why not?

Photo Credit: (t)supot phanna/Shutterstock, (b)Aubrey Gemignani/NASA