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When the Moon Blocks the Sun: Solar Eclipses

Humans have always been tied to the forces of nature. And few are as dramatic as a solar eclipse. A total solar eclipse happens when the moon passes directly in front of the sun, blocking the entire face as seen from Earth.

On August 21, 2017, there will be a total solar eclipse visible in a belt spanning from Oregon to South Carolina across the US. All of the mainland United States, including the Bay Area, will be able to see at least a partial event. Millions of people are expected to travel to view the spectacle.

In the past, the “disappearance” of the sun was seen as a sign that the heavens were displeased with the current ruler. But over the centuries, we learned to track and predict these celestial phenomena. More recently, scientists have posited that what we know as eclipses are a fluke of geometry so rare that we are the only planet in our solar system to experience them.

To learn more about the history and science of eclipses, read these new titles: 
In the Shadow of the Moon Eclipse: Journeys to the Dark Side of the Moon
In the Shadow of the Moon: The Science, Magic, and Mystery of Solar Eclipses
by Anthony Aveni
Eclipse: Journeys to the Dark Side of the Moon
by Frank Close
Mask of the Sun: The Science, History, and Forgotten Lore of Eclipses
by John Dvorak


Discover the best way to view eclipses and other objects in the sky:
 
The Total Skywatcher's Manual Screenshot of activity overview
The Total Skywatcher's Manual
by Linda Shore
Build a pinhole viewer from The National Geographic Society website How to view a solar eclipse from The Exploratorium website

 
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