Hey SCiENCE ALL STARS, it’s Andre and Rodney. Andre and I hadn’t seen a total solar eclipse since our mom flew us to Mazatlan, Mexico for the July 11, 1991 eclipse. This time we were in Rexburg, Idaho with 220 people from the Los Angeles Astronomical Society, most of whom had their own telescopes with them.
But we weren’t the only ones watching! About 215 million American adults – 88 percent of the adult population – watched the eclipse (whether total or partial) according to a recent study. That’s nearly twice the viewership of the 2017 Superbowl (in which the New England Patriots overcame a 25-point deficit to beat the Atlanta Falcons).
“The level of public interest and engagement with a science-oriented event is unparalleled,” study author Jon Miller, director of the International Center for the Advancement of Scientific Literacy at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research, said in a statement.
The eclipse Andre and I saw in 1991 lasted almost 7 minutes of totality, which was awesome, while yesterday’s lasted around 2 and a half minutes of totality; however, what stuck out and what was actually cooler about the recent eclipse was, the sun’s corona (light from the sun you can see around the moon during totality) created various colors in the sky making the overall appearance of the eclipse more dramatic. It was also super cool that, at the point of totality, you could hear people screaming for joy throughout the city, and if you spun around in a circle in place, you could see the sunset all 360 degrees around you. During the recent eclipse temperatures dropped 15 degrees and then rose 15 degrees around us, while it went from sunny to looking like 9 p.m. darkness, then back to completely sunny, all within an hour and a half. It’s amazing how even the most beautiful photos of a total solar eclipses look/feel NOTHING like seeing/experiencing the real thing in person! Andre and I are looking forward to seeing the next total solar eclipse in the U.S., in Texas, in 2024, and we’ll be planning on seeing it together with some of you, Science All Stars.