HOW TO WATCH THE ECLIPSE (AND SHADOW SNAKES) - Smarter Every Day 171 | Summary and Q&A

June 8, 2017
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Learn how to scientifically watch a solar eclipse, including the different phenomena to look out for and the importance of knowing the contact times.

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Key Insights

  • ❓ Solar eclipses offer more than just totality; there are unique events and phenomena to observe before and after totality.
  • ✈️ Being in the center of the totality plane provides a longer duration of totality, offering more opportunities to witness the different phenomena.
  • ⌛ It is important to use proper solar-viewing glasses and be aware of the contact times to ensure a safe and enjoyable eclipse experience.
  • 🤕 Shadow bands remain a mysterious phenomenon, and scientists have yet to determine the exact cause.
  • 🫵 The Solar Eclipse Timer App is a valuable tool for calculating contact times and planning your eclipse viewing experience.
  • 📿 Bailey's Beads are caused by the Moon's irregular surface features and create a spectacular visual effect just before and after totality.
  • 😋 Shadow bands, Bailey's Beads, and the diamond ring are all unique phenomena that occur during a solar eclipse and are worth capturing on camera.


Hey, it's me Destin, welcome back to Smarter Every Day. We've all heard about solar eclipses, right? and you're probably aware that there's a huge one coming very soon so, you think about how to prepare and you're thinking, maybe I gotta get some special goggles so that when I'm looking up at the sky and I see the moon come across I don't hurt my ... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: What are shadow bands?

Shadow bands are optical phenomena that occur shortly before and after totality, causing serpentine shadows to appear and move across the ground. The exact cause of shadow bands is still unknown.

Q: How long do shadow bands last?

Shadow bands typically last for about 20 to 30 seconds, making it crucial to be prepared and watch for them just before C2 and just after C3.

Q: What are Bailey's Beads?

Bailey's Beads are small beads of light that appear just before and after totality as the Moon's valleys and mountains obstruct the Sun, creating a stunning visual effect.

Q: How can I calculate the contact times for my location during a solar eclipse?

There are now smartphone apps, like the Solar Eclipse Timer App, that allow you to input your location and instantly calculate your contact times for the eclipse.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Dr. Gordon Tulipan, an eclipse fanatic, explains the importance of preparing for a solar eclipse to see specific moments and phenomena.

  • The Moon and Sun are almost the same size in the sky, leading to two major types of eclipses: annular and total.

  • The totality plane is the narrow band where the eclipse shadow moves, and being in the center offers a longer duration of totality.

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