Chasing and Watching the Annular Eclipse

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Photos courtesy of Armand Neiderberger

Chasing the eclipse all the way to the rural Elko, Nevada was definitely worth it. It was beautiful to see the Moon cover the Sun, and the shape looked like a ball of fire. Seeing my surroundings get dark and incredibly cold was a new, magical experience. The next total eclipse will be next year on April 8, 2024. The perfect spot to fully experience the eclipse would be in Dallas, Houston, Chicago and Louisville. While it’s a long drive, I would definitely recommend traveling because it is a once in a lifetime experience.

What is an eclipse? 

An eclipse is when the Moon’s orbit aligns with the Earth right in front of the Sun. This annular eclipse only happens in the path of the Moon’s umbral shadow (umbral meaning threshold and shadow) the path of annularity and this only happens once every one or two years. If you are outside of this path, you can only see part of the eclipse, not the full fiery ring around the Moon. 

There are two different types of eclipses—an annular eclipse, like the one on October 14 this year, and a total eclipse, which will happen on April 8, 2024. The Moon’s distance from the Earth changes while it orbits, so when an eclipse occurs while the Moon is further away from its orbit, the Moon can’t completely cover up the Sun. As a result, the Moon looks as though it has a ring of fire around it during its annular eclipse. A total eclipse is when the Moon’s distance is closer to the Earth, so it covers up the Sun completely. This gives the illusion of nightfall.

History

Up until recently, eclipses were a source of angst and fear across many cultures. Indigenous people in North America believed the Sun turned off, so they shot arrows at the sun in an attempt to reignite its light. The ancient Chinese believed a large dragon had eaten the Sun. To scare the dragon away from eating the Sun, the Chinese would bang on drums and make loud noises.. In Eastern Turkey, around 585 BCE, an eclipse signified to kingdoms in war that it was time to cease and make peace

A safe way to watch the eclipse if you don’t have solar safe glasses is using a box. You can cut a hole in the box and put a piece of white paper on the side and watch the eclipse from there. This was a wonderful experience and I got to learn more about the Moon.

Karen is a junior at M-A. This is her first year in journalism. She hopes to write narratives about her own life and connect them with other students from M-A. In her free time, she likes to write poetry, spend time with her cat, Joy, and family and friends.

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