The total solar eclipse seen through the NASA telescope VIDEO


By John

A NASA video gives NASA's telescope a view of a total solar eclipse as it crosses Mexico, the United States and Canada.

The whole of North America, from Mexico to Canada, stopped to admire the solar eclipse, the first of the century to cross the three countries, after the one in 2017 which mainly darkened the United States.

Everyone is crazy about the “black sun”, which has kept half the continent looking up, between special events, closed schools, full stadiums, sold out hotels, mass weddings, scientific experiments and the inevitable conspiracy theories, from the apocalyptic ones to those policies. In the United States alone, an audience of over 200 million spectators is estimated, as if there had been 50 Super Bowls at the same time from Texas to Maine.

Not to mention the billions of people around the world who witnessed the most social eclipse ever on TV or on the web. The black sun began at 12.39 local time over the Cook Islands in the Pacific, then appeared on the coast of Mexico near the city of Mazatlan in mid-morning and then continued across 13 US states and eastern Canada, before fading away in the Atlantic.

In the United States the strip of shadow has covered a territory inhabited by almost 32 million people, but besieged by millions more curious, enthusiasts or professional eclipse hunters ready to fly from one continent to another to secure their place better, causing the prices of hotels, campsites and houses to rent on Airbnb to soar and generating – in addition to crazy traffic – a billion-dollar turnover.

But, despite the weather uncertainties, the eclipse mania affected the rest of the country, where the phenomenon was visible in 48 out of 50 states with percentages varying from 20% of the Pacific coast to around 90% of the north-eastern one.

Like in Washington, which saw thousands of people gather on the National Mall, with numbers close to those for the July 4th fireworks. Or Manhattan, where people have crowded onto the roofs of skyscrapers, on the banks of the Hudson and along the coast overlooking New York Bay. But the cities that were lucky enough to see the total eclipse were others, such as San Antonio, Dallas, Indianapolis, Cleveland, Buffalo and, in Canada, Montreal, as well as Niagara Falls, where about a million people waited to see the 'fog of the famous cataract transform into a pinkish hue.

Special glasses were de rigueur, which sparked a real hunt in all the places where they sold them or offered them for free. The Moon's shadow crossed the earth at a speed of 2,400 km/h walking for 3 hours and 16 minutes until 3.55 pm local time, when it plunged into the Atlantic.

The darkness lasted longer than usual on average, about 4 minutes, during which various phenomena were recorded: lowering of temperatures by several degrees, anomalous behavior of animals and plants and the appearance of a super corona of the sun (due to the concomitance with the period of maximum solar activity), together with stars and planets.

A rare occasion for NASA, which hosted over 100 events and conducted various experiments, from rocket launches to the observation of animal behavior to the study of the solar corona. Now for the next eclipse in North America we will have to wait until 2044.