7 ECLIPSE MUST-KNOWS
In a total eclipse, the moon’s shadow flies across the face of the planet at supersonic speed. That’s fast—almost as fast as it took Carson Huey-You and his younger brother, Cannan, science-minded kid geniuses in the Dallas area, to zip far ahead academically of most kids their age.
Carson, 15, enrolled in Texas Christian University when he was 11 and graduated in May with a degree in physics and minors in math and Chinese. He plans to continue with graduate studies in physics toward a master’s degree and ultimately a doctorate. Cannan, 11, will enter TCU this fall to study engineering and astrophysics.
Here are seven things Carson and Cannan want you to know about the upcoming eclipse.
1. Size matters
“We are the only planet in our solar system where a moon and our sun have the same apparent sizes in the sky,” says Cannan.
2. Your pet may be confused
In the darkness of a total eclipse, animals may think it’s nighttime and begin their evening rituals and sounds. “Some animals and insects get restless and confused,” Cannan says.
3. Protect your eyes!
“Use protective viewing glasses,” says Cannan. “It is safe to look without them only during the short time when the moon completely covers the sun.” 4. Eclipses to die for
“In ancient China, people believed solar eclipses were related to health and the success of the emperor. Not predicting one sometimes meant execution,” says Cannan. That’s quite different from today, when “anyone can watch an accurate simulation of a specific [future] solar eclipse on their iPad,” he says. 5. Super speed
The moon’s shadow races across the Earth so fast, you’d have to fly at least 1.5 times the speed of sound to keep up with it. “It would be cool to fly that fast in a jet at any time, but especially during a solar eclipse!” says Carson. 6. Eating the sun There are many myths and superstitions around eclipses. The Chinese word for
solar eclipse is shi, meaning “to eat”—as in the moon eating the sun. “That could be related to the Chinese mythology of a dragon devouring the disc of the sun,” says Cannan.
Temperatures drop during a solar eclipse. “When the moon covers the sun, less heat is beamed down to the Earth,” says Cannan. “You can expect a temperature drop of about 10 degrees.”