IT’S THE BIG DAY: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE SOLAR ECLIPSE

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Get your glasses ready because today is the day!

Today is the BIG DAY, August 21 is a big day in the American celestial calendar: the 2017 solar eclipse. Referred to by some as the “Great American Eclipse,” its track across the entire continental United States gives millions the opportunity to see the sun disappear for a few minutes — in some places, completely — behind the moon.

What makes the 2017 solar eclipse so special is it’s a total eclipse, where the sun is blocked out more completely than during a more common annular eclipse. Such a thing hasn’t been viewable from American soil in 38 years, so be sure to take a picture It will be one of the most impressive celestial events of the year. So why should you be excited about this event? Read on and we’ll explain.

Why do solar eclipses happen?

Solar eclipses occur when the moon passes in front of the Sun, blocking out its light. While the moon is only a minuscule fraction of the size of the Sun, the Sun is 94 million miles away from us, and this allows the moon to block out the Sun’s rays across a small fraction of the Earth’s surface.

You might be wondering why solar eclipses are so rare. This is due to two factors. First, the moon must be in the “new moon” phase, which means it is between the Earth and the Sun. Because of this, we see the “dark side of the moon,” and the moon appears invisible. But with new moon phases happening every 29.5 days or so, why aren’t eclipses happening just as frequently? You can thank the tilt of the moon’s orbit with respect to Earth for that. (content credit: By Ed Oswald — Posted on August 20, 2017 5:00 am, https://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/2017-total-solar-eclipse/)

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