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Shadow Bands Are a Solar Eclipse Mystery (and Not Everyone Sees Them)

On Aug. 21, as most readers certainly know by now, the shadow of the moon will sweep down from space and slide across the surface of the Earth, bringing a total Solar Eclipse to parts of the contiguous United States for the first time in a generation.

The typical speed of the bands along the ground is about 10 feet per second, and as they are generally only an inch or two wide, they become blurred and washed out when attempts are made to photograph or video them.

Since this event came a few days after a heavy snowfall for the Northeast United States, shadow bands were readily seen upon the fresh snow by most Eclipse watchers.

On May 30, 1984, from Greenville, South Carolina, for about 90 seconds before and after the annular phase I caught sight of very weak smoky bands that displayed little movement but appeared to shimmer, resembling sunlight passing over a radiator or ripples of sunshine at the bottom of a breeze-stirred pool.

This would seem to suggest that for the upcoming eclipse you would be more likely to see shadow bands from Casper, Wyoming, or St. Joseph, Missouri, as opposed to Lincoln City, Oregon, or Charleston, South Carolina.


  • Space India to live-stream total solar eclipse from US on August 21Financial Express
  • 5 perfect accessories for viewing the solar eclipseThe Week Magazine
  • A short list of upcoming solar eclipses India can seeEconomic Times
  • Demand high for special eyewear ahead of celestial showDaily Journal
  • Eclipse offers rare opportunity to study sun, atmosphere, animalsChicago Tribune
  • Space station crew to get 3 shots at solar eclipse Aug 21The Daily Star
  • Local science organizations offer help to prepare for the solar eclipseNews Sentinel
  • Solar Eclipse Question? There's An App for
  • OUT OF THE VAULT: 1979 total eclipse wows Eastern OregonEast Oregonian (subscription)

This post first appeared on The 5th News, please read the originial post: here

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Shadow Bands Are a Solar Eclipse Mystery (and Not Everyone Sees Them)


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