Solar Eclipse

Solar Eclipse

On August 11, 1999, a total solar eclipse will cut a path across Europe and Asia. Thanks to the miracle of the Internet, the rest of us can enjoy it via live Webcast. Tune into the following sites for more details on how to safely watch an eclipse (NEVER look directly at the sun) and what strange and beautiful spectacles you can expect.

Exploratorium: Solar Eclipse5 stars

"Eclipses appear often in the mythology and literature of different cultures and different ages, most often as symbols of obliteration, fear, and the overthrow of the natural order of things. The word eclipse comes from a Greek word meaning 'abandonment.' Quite literally, an eclipse was seen as the sun abandoning the earth." This fabulous Exploratorium site is my pick of the day. Come here for the live Webcast on August 11, for eclipse mythology, for an illustrated scientific explanation of solar eclipses, and for important safety information.

Kidseclipse5 stars

"Sometimes during their orbits, the moon and the Earth form a line with the Sun. When this happens, an eclipse occurs. A lunar eclipse happens when the Earth moves between the Sun and the moon, blocking part of the Sun's light from reaching the moon. During a lunar eclipse, you will see the Earth's shadow on the moon. In a solar eclipse, the moon moves between the Earth and the Sun. When this happens, part of the Sun's light is blocked. The sky slowly gets dark as the moon moves in front of the Sun. When the moon and Sun are in a perfect line, it is called a total eclipse. These are very rare. Most people only see one in their lifetime." This is another awesome site with live Webcam coverage, a great photo gallery and lesson plans for teachers.

McGlaun's Total Solar Eclipse Page4 stars

Meet Dan McGlaun: "I am a total, complete eclipse junkie. I go to every total solar eclipse I can, which after the turn of the century won't be too many, unfortunately. But I've had a pretty good decade in the 1990s, and I thought I'd write a sort of memoir-type book of my experiences." Although he's not a professional astronomer, Dan has a way of conveying his enthusiasm for the subject. Read the stories from his seven eclipse treks, and stay tuned for his dispatches from Turkey, where he will be celebrating both the total solar eclipse and his thirty-sixth birthday!

Solar Eclipses4 stars

"The last flash of light from the surface of the Sun as it disappears from view behind the Moon gives the appearance of a diamond ring and is called, appropriately, the diamond ring effect. As totality begins, the solar corona (extended outer atmosphere of the Sun) blazes into view. The corona is a million times fainter than the surface of the Sun; thus only when the eclipse is total can it be seen; if even a tiny fraction of the solar surface is still visible it drowns out the light of the corona." Best clicks are the solar eclipse animations that illustrate how the moon blocks the light of the sun.

What Causes an Eclipse?3 stars

"The gentle beauty of a lunar eclipse pales in comparison with the truly awesome spectacle of a total solar eclipse, which occurs when the new Moon passes directly between the Sun and the Earth. In the narrow path of totality swept across the Earth by the Moon's complete shadow (the umbra), daytime briefly turns to an eerie darkness, and during these few precious minutes the wispy halo of the Sun – the corona – comes into view as the dark disk of the Moon totally obscures the bright Sun. Outside the path of totality, in the Moon's partial shadow (the penumbra), some portion of the Sun's bright disk remains visible."

Honorable Mentions

The following links are either new discoveries or sites that didn't make it into my newspaper column because of space constraints. Enjoy!

Ask Jeeves Eclipse Tour

Eric's Black Sun Eclipse Website

Espanek's Eclipse Home Page

Sun Cam

Cite This Page

Feldman, Barbara. "Solar Eclipse." Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 4 Aug. 1999. Web. 28 Aug. 2015. < >.

About This Page

By . Originally published August 4, 1999. Last modified August 4, 1999.

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