Irving Public Library

Posted on: August 10, 2017

The Sun’s Disappearing Act


The day is bright and clear, until an unusual shadow shifts the light over the landscape. The moon’s disk mysteriously moves across the sun, the sky fades to twilight, then darkness, revealing stars and other celestial objects. Birds roost and other animals return to their homes during this temporary nightfall. Shadow bands appear, and the moon gradually obscures the sun. Shortly thereafter, the moon moves away, and the daytime sky returns to as it was before.

Past civilizations sought answers to this phenomenon, including theories that dragons, vampires, fire dogs, giant birds, bears, or toads were attempting to devour the sun. These ancient communities were intent on scaring away the cosmic predators by praying, shouting, and throwing sacred objects at the sky.

Prepare for August 21, which is on Monday, the weekday named for the moon: the path of the Great American Eclipse 2017 will move coast-to-coast across the United States, for the first time since 1979. Irving’s view of the eclipse will be a partial one, with the countdown beginning at 11:40 a.m., maximum coverage at 1:09 p.m. and ending at 2:39 p.m. Looking for glasses? Check out this link to find out which libraries are providing certified eclipse watching glasses in your area:

The path of totality will cross Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. Many cities along the path are preparing for a huge influx of visitors, so if you’d like to travel to one of these locales, start planning now. More information is here:

Where should you watch locally? One venue is The Fort Worth Museum of Science and History from 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. that day, with details here: The NASA website offers a list of eclipse viewing events:

Do you want to watch the event online? A robotic telescope offers live coverage at

How should you watch in person? Don’t look directly at the sun, and never use regular sunglasses – you’ll need certified eclipse glasses or another approved method of viewing. Valley Ranch Library will distribute free safety glasses on Saturday, August 19, for grades 1-5, maximum two pairs per family, while supplies last.

And save whatever viewing method you use … the next total solar eclipse visible to the U.S. is in 2024.

Want to read more? Click here for a list of books.*&sort=PD&page=0&searchid=2

Additional links:


Animation of path:

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