DC and parts of US turn dark during rare solar eclipse (includes video story)

Millions of Americans witnessed the daytime sky turn dark during yesterday’s total solar eclipse. In Washington, D.C., where residents experienced 87% of the eclipse, many gathered and organized watch parties to take in the breathtaking astronomical occurrence.

For those in the path of totality, the sun’s rarely-spotted corona became fully visible The corona is the outermost part of the sun’s atmosphere and can only be seen using special glasses due to its bright light. Scientists took advantage of the four-minute-long celestial event to learn more about our planet and what lies beyond.

“[A] better understanding of what’s happening at the corona at the start of the action helps us to not only model and predict what could happen in the future, but to better protect our spacecraft from space weather events . . . and life on earth, like our power grids and our communication systems,” said Nicole Rayl, associate director of flight programs at NASA’s Heliophysics Division.

 The next total solar eclipse visible from the United States will be in August 2044.

Pamela Correa is a graduate student from the Journalism in Spanish Language + Multimedia Program. From the Dominican Republic, this proud island girl enjoys the beach, music and dancing. She majored in psychology, minored in sociology and is now looking forward to this new journey on the communications pathway.