Read up on solar eclipses before this year’s big event | Science News

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Read up on solar eclipses before this year’s big event

New books chronicle the science, history and cultural significance of these phenomena

By
8:00am, April 30, 2017
Solar Eclipse in 2012

SUN BLOCK  A total solar eclipse (one shown from 2012) is one of nature’s most awesome spectacles. In advance of one that will sweep across the United States in August, publishers are releasing a spate of new solar eclipse books.

In August, the United States will experience its first coast-to-coast total solar eclipse in nearly a century. Over the course of an hour and a half, the moon’s narrow shadow will slice across 12 states, from Oregon to South Carolina (SN: 8/20/16, p. 14). As many as 200 million people are expected to travel to spots where they can view the spectacle, in what could become one of the most watched eclipses in history. Excitement is building, hence the flurry of new books about the science, history and cultural significance of what is arguably one of Earth’s most awesome celestial phenomena.

Total solar eclipses happen when the moon passes in front of the sun as seen from Earth, and the moon blocks the entire face of the sun. This event also blocks sunlight that would otherwise scatter off the molecules in our atmosphere, reducing a source of glare and so

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