August 21, 2017, the United States experienced a solar eclipse!
An eclipse occurs when the Moon temporarily blocks the light from the Sun. Within the narrow, 60- to 70-mile-wide band stretching from Oregon to South Carolina called the path of totality, the Moon completely blocked out the Sun’s face; elsewhere in North America, the Moon covered only a part of the star, leaving a crescent-shaped Sun visible in the sky.
During this exciting event, we were collecting your images and reactions online.
Here are a few images of this celestial event…take a look:
This composite image, made from 4 frames, shows the International Space Station, with a crew of six onboard, as it transits the Sun at roughly five miles per second during a partial solar eclipse from, Northern Cascades National Park in Washington. Onboard as part of Expedition 52 are: NASA astronauts Peggy Whitson, Jack Fischer, and Randy Bresnik; Russian cosmonauts Fyodor Yurchikhin and Sergey Ryazanskiy; and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Paolo Nespoli.
Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls
The Bailey’s Beads effect is seen as the moon makes its final move over the sun during the total solar eclipse on Monday, August 21, 2017 above Madras, Oregon.
Credit: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani
This image from one of our Twitter followers shows the eclipse through tree leaves as crescent shaped shadows from Seattle, WA.
Credit: Logan Johnson
“The eclipse in the palm of my hand”. The eclipse is seen here through an indirect method, known as a pinhole projector, by one of our followers on social media from Arlington, TX.
Credit: Mark Schnyder
Through the lens on a pair of solar filter glasses, a social media follower captures the partial eclipse from Norridgewock, ME.
Credit: Mikayla Chase
While most of us watched the eclipse from Earth, six humans had the opportunity to view the event from 250 miles above on the International Space Station. European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Paolo Nespoli captured this image of the Moon’s shadow crossing America.
Credit: Paolo Nespoli
This composite image shows the progression of a partial solar eclipse over Ross Lake, in Northern Cascades National Park, Washington. The beautiful series of the partially eclipsed sun shows the full spectrum of the event.
Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls
In this video captured at 1,500 frames per second with a high-speed camera, the International Space Station, with a crew of six onboard, is seen in silhouette as it transits the sun at roughly five miles per second during a partial solar eclipse, Monday, Aug. 21, 2017 near Banner, Wyoming.
All Eyes on the Sky for the August 21 Total Solar Eclipse
Just two months from now, the moon will completely block the sun’s face, treating part of the US to a total solar eclipse.
Everyone in North America will have the chance to see an eclipse of some kind if skies are clear. Anyone within a 70-mile-wide swath of land — called the path of totality — that stretches from Oregon to South Carolina will have the chance to see a total eclipse.
Throughout the rest of the continent, including all 50 United States — and even in parts of South America, Africa, Europe, and Asia — the moon will partially obscure the sun, creating a partial eclipse.
Photo credit: NASA/Cruikshank
An eclipse is one of nature’s most awesome sights, but safety comes first! When any part of the sun’s surface is exposed, use proper eclipse glasses (not sunglasses) or an indirect viewing method, like a pinhole projector. In the path of totality, it’s safe to look directly at the eclipse ONLY during the brief moments of totality.
During a total solar eclipse, the moon blocks out the sun’s bright face, revealing the otherwise hidden solar atmosphere, called the corona. The corona is one of the sun’s most interesting regions — key to understanding the root of space weather events that shape Earth’s space environment, and mysteries such as why the sun’s atmosphere is so much hotter than its surface far below.
This is the first time in nearly 100 years that a solar eclipse has crossed the United States from coast to coast. We’re taking advantage of this long eclipse path by collecting data that’s not usually accessible — including studying the solar corona, testing new corona-observing instruments, and tracking how our planet’s atmosphere, plants, and animals respond to the sudden loss of light and heat from the sun.
We’ll be studying the eclipse from the ground, from airplanes, with research balloons, and of course, from space.
Three of our sun-watchers — the Solar Dynamics Observatory, IRIS, and Hinode, a joint mission led by JAXA — will see a partial eclipse from space. Several of our Earth-observing satellites will use the eclipse to study Earth under uncommon conditions. For example, both Terra and DSCOVR, a joint mission led by NOAA, will capture images of the moon’s shadow from space. Our Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter will also turn its instruments to face Earth and attempt to track the moon’s shadow as it moves across the planet.
There’s just two months to go until August 21, so make your plans now for the big day! No matter where you are, you can follow the eclipse as it crosses the country with live footage from NASA TV.
Learn more about the upcoming total solar eclipse — including where, when, and how to safely experience it — at eclipse2017.nasa.gov and follow along on Twitter @NASASun.