As the United States experienced its first coast to coast solar eclipse in nearly a century, the Grand Rapids Public Museum and Grand Valley State University’s Physics Department hosted an official eclipse party at the Museum to take in the once in a lifetime event. The last time a solar eclipse was visible from coast to coast in the United States came on June 8th, 1918.
Dr. Bradley Ambrose teaches Physics Education at Grand Valley State University.
“Most often the sun and the moon and the earth don’t line up in a single, straight line,” Dr. Bradley Ambrose, Physics Educator at Grand Valley State University explains. “The moon is sort of between the earth and the sun. Here today, the moon is really between the earth and the sun. And even though it doesn’t happen all the time, because of the moon’s orbit being at a slight angle, five degrees tilted with respect to the earth’s orbit, around the sun. That is why it’s so rare, or rare to be at a place where there is a solar eclipse, but we happen to be right where we need to be.”
While Michigan was not in the path of totality and did not experience a total solar eclipse, about 81 percent of the sun was covered by the moon at the eclipse's peak. The next coast to coast solar eclipse in the United States will be in the year 2045 according to NASA.