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The TOTAL Solar Eclipse of 2024 - DID YOU KNOW??

Given that the next TOTAL solar eclipse in DFW will be in 300 years, we wanted to take the opportunity to pull some 'Did You Know??' trivia from TotalSolarEclipseDFW.Com for our audiences. Enjoy!

What does totality mean when talking about the solar eclipse?

During the phase of a total solar eclipse known as totality, the moon completely covers the sun. Just prior to this phase, as the amount of sunlight decreases and the sky begins to darken, it may be possible to observe several stars and planets in the sky.

What is the Path of Totality?

The Path of Totality is the narrow path on the Earth’s surface where a Total Solar Eclipse can be observed in its entirety. The Path of Totality is determined by the relative positions of the Sun, Moon and Earth. It can vary in width from a few kilometers to hundreds of kilometers. Outside of the Path of Totality, only a Partial Solar Eclipse can be observed.

What happens during totality?

The sky will darken, literally turning day to night. People in the path of a total solar eclipse can see the Sun’s corona, the outer atmosphere, which is usually obscured by its bright face. A total solar eclipse is the only type of solar eclipse where viewers can momentarily remove their eclipse glasses (which are not the same as regular sunglasses) for a brief time when the Moon is completely blocking the Sun.

Why is the Path of Totality so narrow?

The Path of Totality during a solar Eclipse is relatively narrow because it is determined by the shadow cast by the Moon as it passes in front of the Sun which depends on the closeness of the Moon to the Earth. For this Eclipse, the Moon’s shadow is roughly 120 miles wide as it crosses DFW. The shadow is wider than the Total Solar Eclipse of August 21, 2017, hence the longer Eclipse time along the path.

Why are Total Solar Eclipses rare?

Total Solar Eclipses are rare at any one point on Earth because the alignment of the Sun, Moon and Earth must be nearly perfect for the Moon to cover the Sun completely and it only happens along the path. The Path of Totality is also relatively narrow, so only a small area of the Earth’s surface can experience a total Eclipse.

However, for those with the desire and means, Total Solar Eclipses occur on average every eleven to eighteen months somewhere on the planet.

Can animals be affected by a Total Solar Eclipse?

Animals are sensitive to changes in light and during Solar Eclipses, you’ll see them exhibit behaviors associated with sunset. Birds will go to roost, cows head to the barn, crickets start singing and nocturnal animals become active. Your pets may do the same.

What are some scientific discoveries that have been made during Total Solar Eclipses?

Total Solar Eclipses provide unique opportunities for scientists to study the Sun’s atmosphere, known as the corona. Researchers study the corona in detail during Eclipses and investigate its composition, behavior and learn more about our life-giving start. Several big discoveries have been made during Solar Eclipses.

  • The discovery of Helium in 1868.

  • The confirmation of Einstein’s theory of general relativity in 1919

  • The discovery of Solar Wind in 1952

What are Baily's Beads?

Baily's Beads are the small bits of light seen on the edge of the sun, right before the moon completely covers it and totality begins. The spots are seen because the surface of the moon is uneven and filled with mountains, valleys and craters. The phenomenon is named after Francis Baily, a British astronomer, who discovered the occurrence.

Is it safe to look at an eclipse?

It is safe to view an eclipse with the naked eye ONLY DURING TOTALITY when the sun's disk is completely covered by the moon. Otherwise, skywatchers need proper eye protection (eclipse glasses, not sunglasses). NEVER LOOK AT A PARTIAL SOLAR ECLIPSE WITHOUT PROPER EYEWEAR.

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