:] The sun’s corona is visible during a solar eclipse. (Image courtesy NASA/ESA.)

On April 8, 2024, parts of North America will witness a total solar eclipse. The Moon will pass in front of the Sun, and for a few short minutes, completely block it from view. This is called totality.

Casting a long shadow

In a total solar eclipse, the Sun throws the Moon’s shadow against the Earth. Totality can only be viewed from the umbra, the darkest part of the Moon’s shadow. The path the umbra takes across the Earth is called the path of totality.