Countdown to the eclipse

Countdown to the eclipse

March 12, 20242 min read

The countdown is on for the total solar eclipse on April 8 and Adam Frank, professor of astrophysics, science commentator, and popular author, is available to comment on:

  • Earth's eclipses are the result of a cosmic accident! No other world has such a relatively large moon. Our Moon is the result of a titanic collision with a Mars sized planet more than 4 billion years ago.
  • Earth is likely the only planet that experiences a solar corona/ring of fire during a total eclipse. That's because the size of the moon and the size of the sun appear to be roughly the same from Earth.
  • The moon is slowly drifting away from the Earth so the kind of eclipses we experience are also an accident in time. Were not possible before, won't be possible later.
  • Eclipses must have been terrifying for early humans. Learning to predict them helped establish the possibility for science.
  • Today eclipses can be a way to help people understand and appreciate the sciences.
  • The science surrounding the eclipse is the same science that gives us vaccines and helps us understand climate change (science is science).
  • The "devil comet" may be visible during the eclipse. The comet passes by Earth every 71 years. The comet, which glows green and red, gets its nickname from outbursts that take on the shape of horns.

Adam Frank is a frequent on-air commentator for live interviews and segments in national media outlets. He also regularly contributes to written publications, including The Washington Post, The Atlantic, The New York Times, and Scientific American. In 2021 he received the Carl Sagan Medal, which recognizes and honors outstanding communication by an active planetary scientist to the general public. It is awarded to scientists whose efforts have significantly contributed to a public understanding of, and enthusiasm for, planetary science. His most recent book is The Little Book of Aliens (Harper Collins, 2023).

Connect with:
  • Adam Frank
    Adam Frank Professor of Physics and Astronomy

    Frank is a leading expert on how stars form and how they die, as well as civilizations before humans

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