Six amazing things you can see during the total solar eclipse

Eclipse over the USA made with photoshop CS4

 

During the Great American Solar Eclipse on Monday, there are many things you can see and hear during the process and at totality.

  1. As the eclipse approaches totality, shadows will look sharper and winds will dissipate – much like what happens on a typical evening around sunset. The sky will change to a darker shade of blue and temperatures will begin to drop as more and more of the sun is covered by the moon.
  2. When the eclipse is close to totality, you will be able to see many crescent shaped shadows on the ground, especially when you look in the shadows of trees. According to the University of Illinois, this occurs because the tiny gaps in leaves act like multiple pinhole cameras and project the Sun’s image on the ground.
  3. Right before and right after totality, Baily’s beads will be visible. Baily’s bead are bright beads of sunlight which occur because the moon’s topography allows sunlight to shine through in some areas, but not others.
  4. At totality, there will be a 360 degree sunset effect. This means that there will be an orange glow at the horizon in all directions around you. This occurs because the sun is still shining in areas that are not in the path of totality. Automatic lights and street lights will come on and the temperature could drop about 12 to 15 degrees.
  5. The sun’s corona, stars and many planets will become visible. In particular, try to find Jupiter, Mars, Mercury and Venus. Mars will be to the west and Venus further to the west, while Mercury and Jupiter will be to the east, closer to the sun.
  6. Observe animals and insects around you because they will begin to act as if it is twilight. Birds will return to their nests and insects, such as fireflies, will come out. Also listen for birds and insects singing their evening songs.

During the eclipse and at totality, don’t get caught up with cameras and cell phones. Just put on your solar glasses and enjoy the experience. Totality won’t last long, so observe as much as you can during that short amount of time.