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1 of 3 | The moon eclipses the sun during a total solar eclipse at the AURA Cerro Tololo Observatory near La Serena, Chile on July 2, 2019. File Photo by Joe Marino/UPI | License Photo
On April 8, millions of people across North America will witness day turn to night as the moon blocks out the light from the sun, but there will be more to the celestial spectacle than many think. While most people focus their attention on the sun and the moon, people’s surroundings will change during the height of the eclipse, known as totality. Advertisement
Subtle differences may be noticed in areas that only experience a partial solar eclipse, but much more significant changes will take place along the narrow path from Mexico to Canada where the total solar eclipse is visible.
While everyone’s attention will be focused on the sky, looking down can reveal another scene that not many have experienced.
A panorama of the sunset appearing on the horizon during the height of the Great American Eclipse in 2017. Photo courtesy of AccuWeather
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Spectators who look at the horizon during totality will witness the colors of sunrise and sunset around them in every direction.
This 360-degree sunset effect is caused by the light from the sun in areas outside the path of totality and only lasts as long as the sun is completely blocked by the moon.
As the moon causes day to turn to night, the darkness will reveal the stars in the sky, as well as a few planets.
People shouldn’t waste too much time looking for planets and constellations since these can be seen at night during different parts of the year. However, the eclipse will make it easy to spot Venus and Jupiter, which will be in a similar area of the sky as the sun on April 8.
The celestial alignment will also reveal the corona, the area of hot gas that surrounds the sun.
A few lucky spectators may even be fortunate enough to see a meteor streak across the sky during the brief period of darkness.
One of the rare phenomena to look for during the total solar eclipse is shadow bands.

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