Yesterday was one of the coolest experiences I have had in science lessons since I was a kid. I remember standing on the playground pavement with my teacher in elementary school using our papers to look at a partial solar eclipse over California. So to stand with hundreds of elementary school kids in Bakersfield yesterday and be the teacher who showed them how to view it and how it was happening was humbling and thrilling at the same time.
You heard people saying yesterday's event was "once in a lifetime" and an eclipse hasn't happened in 100 years, so then how come I have experienced two in my lifetime already? Well it depends on which stats you are looking at. The total eclipse they are referring to from 100 years ago was the last one to stretch completely over the contiguous United States from coast to coast, instead of just a few states. The last total solar eclipse visible in the United States was back in 1979. Since then we have had a partial eclipse, the one I'm remembering from the 1990s and a few others. Earth actually has two solar eclipses per year, sometimes more!
So if you're like me and already looking forward to the next cosmic event, thankfully the next solar eclipse is just six years away and it will be visible in California too!
NASA says has calculated that "the next annular solar eclipse that can be seen in the continental United States will be on October 14, 2023 which will be visible from Northern California to Florida. Following this, we will have a total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024 visible from Texas to Maine."
TimeAndDate.com has a great map that shows the timing and path of that upcoming 2023 annular eclipse. But what is an annular solar eclipse? Well that is also known as a "ring of fire" eclipse, because the moon is farther away in its orbit, so the outside ring of the sun is still visible as a bright ring around the moon. It will get dark that day over Northern California, but not as dark as yesterday's total solar eclipse. To experience that, you'll have to wait six more months for the one in 2024, and travel a little farther as that event won't be visible in California.
Here's something else I wanted to share with you, because I found it interesting and hadn't heard it during all the news coverage over the last few weeks: did you know a solar eclipse is always paired with a lunar eclipse within two weeks? I read that fun fact on this page of timeanddate.com and doing some more research and found that the lunar eclipse that paired yesterday's solar eclipse happened on the other side of the world on August 7/8. That page reads that "Even though solar eclipses take place every year, they are considered a rare sight, much rarer than a lunar eclipse. There are 2 reasons for this: 1: A solar eclipse is only visible from a limited path on Earth, while a lunar eclipse is visible from every location on the night-side of the Earth while it lasts. 2: Lunar eclipses also tend to last longer than solar eclipses and therefore occur much more frequently in any given location."
As I was doing my research I stumbled across this site and it was too fascinating not to share. Check out the history of past total solar eclipses in the last 100 years over the United States.
Find me on Facebook to share your photos and videos of yesterday's eclipse and we can geek out together over the next one coming up in 2023! www.Facebook.com/Elaina23ABC