What is a Solar Eclipse?


An eclipse occurs when one astronomical object passes through the shadow of another astronomical object. A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon’s shadow passes over the Earth’s surface, temporarily blocking the view of the Sun from the Earth. A total solar eclipse is visible from the moon’s umbra, which is the darkest part of the moon’s shadow. A partial solar eclipse is visible from the moon’s penumbra, which is the lighter part of the moon’s shadow. From the Earth’s surface, with proper viewing equipment, this will look like part of the Sun’s surface is covered.

Louisiana will experience a partial solar eclipse on August 21, 2017. This means that 70-80 percent of the Sun’s disc will appear covered to viewers in our state. The eclipse will begin in Louisiana around 11:57am and reach maximum coverage around 1:29pm on Monday, August 21st. There will not be another solar eclipse visible from Louisiana until 2024. This is a perfect opportunity to educate the students of Louisiana about this phenomenon.

If you would like more information on the history of solar eclipses, myths & literature about them, and general info about the pending 2017 Eclipse, please visit our External Links page.

The amount of the sun that will be eclipsed depends on where you live.  The locations that will see a brief total eclipse are shaded in this image from NASA.

Here is a 11″x21″ Downloadable PDF of this same image, courtesy of NASA.

What will happen during the eclipse, and it is safe to watch? (PDF).

Why are solar and lunar eclipses so rare? (PDF)

Remember that it is NEVER okay to look directly at the Sun. Always take proper safety measures to view the solar eclipse. Students should be taught safety procedures for viewing the Sun properly. Visit our Safe Solar Viewing page to find some easy-to-construct options for viewing the 2017 solar eclipse.