Science Ticker | Science News


Support credible science journalism.

Subscribe to Science News today.

Science Ticker

Your daily roundup of research news

Science News Staff

Science Ticker

Science Ticker

Today is the day! A last-minute guide for watching the Great American Eclipse

highway sign about eclipse

The Great American Eclipse is finally here! Be sure to wear certified eclipse glasses when looking at the sun, and check out the links below for more info.

Sponsor Message

Just a stab in the dark, but you’ve probably heard: There is a total solar eclipse today, August 21.

For the first time since 1979, the moon’s shadow will zip across the continental United States. The shadow will travel from Oregon to South Carolina in a swift 92 minutes. For those in the path of totality, total darkness will last only a couple of minutes. There and elsewhere in most of the United States, the moon will partially block the sun for around three hours.

If you don’t already have plans to travel to the 115-kilometer-or-so-wide path of totality, well, you’re probably too late. But here are some links to help you experience the eclipse, whether or not you’re able to see it in person.

The eclipse will be visible in all of North America — as well as in Central America and a small part of South America. Wondering what you’ll see where you live? Check out this interactive map from NASA or this cool tool from Vox.

Still need eclipse glasses? While many retailers have been sold out for days, some organizations are handing out free glasses at eclipse-watching events. Check your local TV/newspaper/radio stations’ newsfeeds for the latest. Make sure your glasses are safe.

No eclipse glasses? Never fear! You can still see the moon eclipsing the sun by making a pinhole projector or a box projector. Or just let sunlight shine through something that has holes, like a colander or Ritz Cracker (look at the ground to see the shape of the shadow the holes cast).

Watching with kids? Check out Growth Curve blogger Laura Sanders’ tips for protecting little ones’ eyes during the eclipse.

Which reminds me: Whatever you do, don’t look directly at the sun. Permanent damage to your eyes may result. If you’re in the path of totality, officials say it’s OK to look directly at the sun once the moon completely blocks it. But that’s very brief, so be prepared to quickly look away or shield your eyes once the moon slips out of total alignment.

Want to do more with your eclipse experience? It’s not too late to participate in a citizen science project.

Stuck indoors, or out of totality? Watch the livestream. NASA’s programming begins at noon Eastern on NASA TV, which you can watch at this link or right here: 

Want some tunes to go along with it? The NASA interns made an eclipse playlist. There are also several Spotify playlists around, like this one from WXPN, this from the Washington Post and this one from the Boston Globe

If all this excitement has you fancying a future in eclipse chasing, check out our interactive map of the next 15 total solar eclipses.

And let’s not forget that there will be a ton of science going on during the eclipse. Here are the big questions physicists and astronomers will seek to answer today.

Still want more? Follow us on Facebook and on Twitter for eclipse updates and RT’s of our correspondents in totality. Watch as the Science News team takes over the Society for Science & the Public’s Snapchat (Society4Science). And come back to Science News later today for a report from our astronomy writer, Lisa Grossman, who is spending the day in Casper, Wyo., with a research team that’s studying the sun’s wispy atmosphere, the corona.

Genetics,, Archaeology

Mummy DNA unveils the history of ancient Egyptian hookups

By Helen Thompson 4:30pm, May 31, 2017
A study of DNA extracted from Egyptian mummies untangles ancient ancestry and attempts to resolve quality issues.
Animals,, Biophysics,, Evolution

Petite parrots provide insight into early flight

By Helen Thompson 9:00am, May 24, 2017
High-speed video shows that tiny parrots direct their hops to use the least amount of energy necessary.
Planetary Science

TRAPPIST-1’s seventh planet is a chilly world

By Ashley Yeager 9:00am, May 23, 2017
Follow-up observations of TRAPPIST-1 and its seven planets reveals details about the outermost one.

Mouse sperm survive space to spawn

By Laurel Hamers 3:00pm, May 22, 2017
Sperm freeze-dried and sent into space for months of exposure to high levels of solar radiation later produced healthy baby mice.
Biomedicine,, Health

Older adults may not benefit from taking statins

By Aimee Cunningham 2:30pm, May 22, 2017
Statins did not reduce heart attacks, coronary heart disease deaths or deaths from any cause in people age 65 and older, a new analysis finds.
Climate,, Animals,, Ecology

Higher temperatures could trigger an uptick in damselfly cannibalism

By Helen Thompson 7:05pm, May 16, 2017
Experiments in the lab suggest that increases in temperature could indirectly lead to an increase in cannibalistic damselfly nymphs.
Animals,, Technology

Trackers may tip a warbler’s odds of returning to its nest

By Helen Thompson 2:30pm, May 5, 2017
Geolocator devices that help track migrating birds could also hamper migration survival or timing.

Big dads carry weight among wandering albatrosses

By Helen Thompson 12:00pm, May 3, 2017
For male albatrosses, bulking up impacts survival and reproduction.
Earth,, Climate

Crack in Antarctica’s Larsen C ice shelf forks

By Thomas Sumner 4:39pm, May 2, 2017
An 180-kilometer-long rift in Antarctica’s Larsen C ice shelf has forked into two branches, new satellite observations show.
Fungi,, Chemistry

How a mushroom gets its glow

By Susan Milius 9:00am, April 27, 2017
For the first time, biologists have pinpointed the compound that lights up in fungal bioluminescence.
Subscribe to RSS - Science Ticker