On Monday, August 21, 2017, people across the country saw an amazing natural phenomenon that hasn’t occurred in the United States for many decades: a total solar eclipse.

A solar eclipse is when the moon’s and the sun’s orbits cross each other, covering the sun for a few hours. They only occur during a full moon, and can only be viewed in certain areas.   A total solar eclipse is when the sun is completely covered for a brief moment by the moon. The sky grows dark during the day, and planets and stars are visible for a few minutes.  Unlike a regular eclipse, which happens annually, a total solar eclipse is a very rare occurrence- they don’t happen very often.

The eclipse was only visible across a thin line known as the path of totality.  The path of totality crossed from West to East across the United States.  It started in Oregon and ended in South Carolina.  

The eclipse was a beautiful sight, but, since you had to look directly at the sun to see it, you either needed to buy special solar eclipse viewing glasses or make a pinhole projector- a box with a hole poked into tin foil on the corner. If you cut another hole on the corner next to it, you can see the eclipse on the bottom of the box. This works best if you have paper on the bottom. Regular sunglasses, however, won’t work.  Staring at the sun still can damage your retina, or even blind you.

That day, many people stopped with their daily routine and looked at the eclipse.  This incredible event awed many people across the globe.  It truly was truly a once in a lifetime experience.