— NWS Chicago (@NWSChicago) August 20, 2017
The August 21 total solar eclipse is just hours away. The latest weather forecast for Monday August 21 is for partly cloudy skies in Chicago. There is a chance of rain in the afternoon.
I wanted to share with you some more things to know about solar eclipses, and this particular total solar eclipse on August 21---
A solar eclipse occurs only during a new moon. Because of the relative distance between the sun and the moon, the sun appears almost the same size as the moon!
An eclipse does not occur at every new moon because of the moon's tilted orbit. The alignment of the sun, earth and moon has to be just right.
During totality, the corona of the sun is visible. This is an opportunity for solar scientists to study the corona, solar flares, sunspots, and other phenomena.
During totality, there is a chance that a hidden comet may become visible! In fact, a sun grazing comet was spotted yesterday. Comets often appear in bunches, so there may be more.
During an eclipse, animals react to the twilight and darkness. Nocturnal creatures become active. The temperature can drop as much as 20 degrees.
Eclipses occur in cycles. This eclipse is part of a cycle called Saros 145. This pattern began in 1639 and will end in 3009, according to Fred Espenak, a retired NASA eclipse expert. Monday’s total solar eclipse is the 22nd eclipse of this 77-event run. You can read more here.
Long ago, people worshipped the sun and the moon as deities. In some cultures, a total eclipse meant the end of the world, a sign of the apocalypse. In history, comets and eclipses have been interpreted as omens for the fortunes of armies and the downfall of kings.
How different we are today, with our modern devices! But we have not forgotten. We are children of the universe. We share this moment, this weather, this sky.
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