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North America to see total solar eclipse

  • April 4, 2024
  • 2 min read
North America to see total solar eclipse

People all over North America will have the chance to witness a total solar eclipse, from Mexico to the Eastern tip of Canada. Hundreds of events have already been planned for April for eclipse watchers to head outside and look into the sky to capture this rare astronomical phenomenon.

A solar eclipse happens when the Moon moves between the Earth or Sun, blocking some or even all of the star’s rays from reaching us. Because of the relative distances and sizes of the Moon and Sun, they appear to be the same size in the sky, something that is rare in the universe. For this phenomenon to happen, it needs all three to be in just the right alignment to allow the Moon to cast a shadow on the planet.

It can cast two types of shadows, one of which results in a partial solar eclipse, covering only part of the sun. The other, called a total solar eclipse, is where the Sun is completely covered by the Moon, except for a visible ring of light in the sky.

Solar eclipses themselves are not rare, there are between two and four every year. But the chances of seeing a total solar eclipse is rare. The Earth being mostly covered by ocean means that it is unlikely to be visible from somewhere that humans will get to see it. The last to span the continental US was in 1918, more than a century ago, and the next one will be in 2079. That makes this a once-in-a-lifetime event.

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