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Eclipse Over America 

On August 21, 2017, millions of Americans witnessed the first total solar eclipse to cross the continental United States in 99 years. As in all total solar eclipses, the moon blocked the ... See full summary »


Martin Gorst


Martin Gorst

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Episode credited cast:
Amir Caspi ... Himself
Nicky Fox ... Herself
Holly Gilbert ... Herself
Don Hassler ... Himself
Jason Kalirai ... Himself
James Klimchuk ... Himself
Bill Murtagh ... Himself
Tyler Nordgren ... Himself
Mathieu Ossendrijver ... Himself
Jay Pasachoff ... Himself
Craig Sechler ... Himself - Narrator
Steven Tomczyk ... Himself
Constantine Tsang ... Himself


On August 21, 2017, millions of Americans witnessed the first total solar eclipse to cross the continental United States in 99 years. As in all total solar eclipses, the moon blocked the sun and revealed its ethereal outer atmosphere - its corona - in a wondrous celestial spectacle. While hordes of citizens flocked to the eclipse's path of totality, scientists, too, staked out spots for a very different reason: to investigate the secrets of the sun's elusive atmosphere. During the eclipse's precious seconds of darkness, they gathered new clues on how our sun works, how it can produce deadly solar storms, and why its atmosphere is so hot. NOVA investigates the storied history of solar eclipse science, and joins both seasoned and citizen-scientists alike as they don their eclipse glasses, tune their telescopes, and behold the Eclipse Over America.

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21 August 2017 (USA) See more »

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Revisiting And Examining The Great American Solar Eclipse Of 2017
13 May 2019 | by virek213See all my reviews

Of the many celestial events that we can ever experience, none fills us with quite as much awe, wonderment, and, sometimes, even terror, as that of a total solar eclipse, where the Moon, for a short few minutes, totally blocks out the Sun, allowing us to see, among other things, the solar prominences and flares that emanate from that stellar body ninety-three million miles away from us. On August 21, 2017, millions of Americans got that chance when, on a path that stretched southeast across the middle of America from Oregon to South Carolina, the Moon did indeed block out the Sun for periods of two to three minutes, plunging the cities and towns in that path into total darkness in the middle of the day.

ECLIPSE OVER AMERICA, an episode of PBS's landmark science series "Nova", looks into only at that great celestial event, but also the history of such eclipses and what scientists learned from this particular event. When the Sun is blocked during such eclipses, the only thing anyone sees of it, and which one can see only during such eclipses, is the Sun's outer atmosphere, or corona, which, most shockingly, is actually a hundred times hotter than the Sun's actual surface. We also manage to see the solar flares and magnetic storms generated from the Sun that can, and indeed on several occasions have, adversely affected power grids all over the world. And we learn how such solar eclipses can occur as they do: the Sun is 400 times larger than the Moon in size, and yet it is also 400 times further away from us than the Moon, allowing for eclipses, both partial and total, somewhere in the world on the average of every eighteen months, when Sun, Moon, and Earth are in perfect alignment. The one that Americans looked at in the late summer of 2017 was the first one that a sizeable amount of the population had seen since February 1979, making it arguably the most important singular scientific event of the 21st century to date.

We can thank PBS and their program "Nova" once more for showing us that there are forces in the Universe far greater than us. Certainly the Great American Solar Eclipse of August 21, 2017 is one such manifestation of those forces; and we learned a great deal about it from scientists and science buffs, professional and amateur, from all around our nation on that glorious day in world history.

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