NEBRASKAland July 2017

NEBRASKAland Magazine is dedicated to outstanding photography and informative writing with an engaging mix of articles and photos highlighting Nebraska’s outdoor activities, parklands, wildlife, history and people.

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Page 58 of 71

I magine that you are out walking after lunch on a hot summer day. Although there are no clouds in the sky, you notice that it isn't that bright outside. About 20 minutes later you notice that the sky is even darker. But it is the middle of the day! The sun has been covered up! The event described above is called a solar eclipse. Many Nebraskans will experience a total solar eclipse at about noon on Aug. 21, 2017. Eclipses occur due to the positions of the sun, Earth and the moon and the shadows that Earth and the moon cause. All three objects must line up for an eclipse to occur. For a solar eclipse, the moon is in between the sun and Earth so that the sun is blocked for some observers on Earth. Even though the sun is much larger than the moon, the sun is also much farther away. So, the two appear to be about the same size in the sky. On Aug. 21, 2017, as Earth rotates, the shadow of the moon will travel across the surface of Earth. In the United States, it will start in Oregon and move eastward until it reaches South Carolina about four hours later. In Nebraska, the entire eclipse will last about 2½ hours, but the total covering of the sun (known as totality) will only last about 2½ minutes near the middle of the eclipse. Totality will be seen from about half of Nebraska. Locations further north and south will only see a partial solar eclipse, meaning that the moon will cover up part of the sun, but not all of it. Everyone in the continental United States will at least see a partial eclipse. Looking directly at the sun is always dangerous for your eyes – so don't ever do it! You can use special eclipse glasses to view the eclipse or project the eclipse image onto a screen. You should also plan for viewing the eclipse on the Internet in case of cloudy weather locally. So why are total solar eclipses of great interest to astronomers? Typically the sun is too bright to observe its faint outer region (the corona of the sun). But during a total solar eclipse, the moon blocks out light from the sun's bright surface and astronomers can learn about the sun's faint corona. interesting notes for readers of all ages by Lindsay Rogers and Donna Schimonitz Total Solar Eclipse: August 21, 2017 By Kevin M. Lee, National Science Foundation, Division of Undergraduate Education Looking Up! Identify each of the following pictures as a full eclipse, partial eclipse or the sun's corona. junior journal junior journal junior journal American mink with kit photo by Getty Images NATURE CALENDAR Mink kits traveling with mother along stream banks: June- August Dragonflies lay eggs on ponds and wetlands: Late July through August Look for snakes basking in the warm sun early in the morning: All summer Prairie wildflowers begin to bloom: Mid-June through September Answers, top to bottom: corona, partial eclipse, total eclipse. © 2008 Druckmüller, Dietzel, Aniol & Rušin/NASA D. Schimonitz from NEBRASKAland‛s Trail Tales magazine for kids JULY 2017 • NEBRASKAland 59

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