Don't look up! Shadows projected from the eclipse are just as cool
The weekend’s annular solar eclipse wasn’t just cool to look up at. If you looked around, you may have also seen crescent-shaped shadows.
Around noon Saturday, the sun was 89% obscured by the moon from our view in Austin. The crescent shadows on sidewalks and other surfaces were projections of the sun.
“We're basically making a projection of the sunlight, and you just need to see a small opening, like when leaves of a tree overlap and you can get real small openings," Keely Finkelstein, an astronomy professor at UT Austin, said. "You'll get all these kinds of crescents projected onto the ground, which are just images of the projections of the sun.”
On a regular day, those shadows look round. Finkelstein says we may not notice them as often since they happen all the time and just look normal to us.
“I love seeing those like crescent figures through tree leaves, or people can be making their own little pinhole cameras,” she said.
During a solar eclipse, the moon travels between the Earth and the sun, blocking out the sun. On Saturday, the three bodies didn't line up perfectly, so it was only a partial eclipse.
If you missed it and the shadows this weekend, the region will see its first total eclipse in 150 years on April 8.