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What is a solar eclipse?

We all know that the Earth revolves around the sun, while the moon is in orbit around the Earth. When the three celestial objects line up perfectly, a rare astronomical event occurs.

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon comes between the Earth and the sun, partially or entirely blocking out the sun. On Earth, the moon will cast a shadow, but just how dark it will become as a result depends on what percentage of the sun is covered by the moon.

Because the moon's shadow is not big enough to engulf the entire Earth, only a small portion of the planet normally experiences each solar eclipse. 

The "Great American Eclipse" occurred on August 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse of the sun and the first to travel across the entire lower 48 of the United States in nearly a century. In Pennsylvania and New Jersey, about 75 percent of the sun was obscured by the moon. A 70 mile wide path of totality tracked across the country from Oregon to South Carolina.

The next total eclipse is in April of 2024. The path of totality will travel from Texas to Maine, including far northwest Pennsylvania and parts of upstate New York.


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