Home / Bay Area News / When the Sun suddenly vanishes for a few minutes – by sally-stephens – August 13, 2017

When the Sun suddenly vanishes for a few minutes – by sally-stephens – August 13, 2017



One week from tomorrow, the Moon will slide between the Earth and the Sun. For people in a narrow path that stretches from the coast of Oregon to the beaches of South Carolina, the alignment will be just right, and the Moon will appear to totally cover the Sun, plunging those areas into a few minutes of darkness near noon.

Unfortunately, for those of us in the Bay Area, the cosmic alignment isn’t quite as good. It won’t get dark like in Oregon, but if you take appropriate precautions to protect your eyes, you will see the Moon take a huge “bite” out of the Sun.

I’ve seen three total solar eclipses, and they are magical. For the few minutes when the Moon totally covers the Sun, the sky darkens enough to see stars, the temperature cools and the wind dies down. Birds stop chirping, thinking nighttime has come.

During those minutes of “totality,” wisps of the Sun’s faint outer atmosphere are visible, surrounding the dark disk of the Moon in a ghostly…


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