Solar Eclipse

Moment of National Unity Accompanies 'Great American Eclipse'

In an event commentators heralded for leaving “a nation in awe” (New York Times) and “unified by a natural event” despite being “increasingly separated by politics” (USA Today), millions of Americans yesterday stopped to witness an event informally dubbed the “Great American Solar Eclipse” – the first solar eclipse since 1918 to pass coast-to-coast over the United States.

“Following a course charted before the dawn of history, the moon passed between the sun and Earth and cast a shadow onto a strip of land across America,” making landfall on the Oregon coast at 10:15 AM Pacific Time, traversing a 90-minute path directly overhead the continental United States before vanishing off the South Carolina coast near Charleston.

Today, the Washington Post ran an interactive map tracing the path of the eclipse and featuring real-time photographs and videos captured as it passed over individual locations.

NASA also published a list of its must-see highlights, including an image showing the eclipse in progress, noticeable sunspots, and the silhouette of the International Space Station passing in-front of the still partially visible sun.

Reports filtered in from around the nation of millions of avid eclipse-watchers stunned by the phenomena surrounding the event – sudden midday darkness, a dramatic temperature drop, and crickets chirping in the afternoon, accompanying the appearance of Venus and a smattering of stars as the moon dramatically blotted out the sun for just over two minutes.

In Washington, D.C., residents filed out of office buildings, filling nearly every park, with the Washington Post’s weather team sharing 20 impressive captures from across the greater Metro D.C. area of what The New Yorker dubbed “a celestially imposed national moment of silence, a two-minute reprieve for reflection and grace. It will be unsettling, its beauty fleeting and unworldly, but in it we will see the outlines of democracy: for a few moments, a small satellite will overshadow a raging star a thousand times its size."

Posted in General News

Tags: NASA

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