All along a line stretching from Oregon in the west to South Carolina in the east, the darkness of a total solar eclipse descends on the United States. But just moments after this natural phenomenon fades, internet users take to Google in droves. And soon, their searches reflect a worrying trend.
On August 21, 2017, North America experienced its first total solar eclipse in almost 40 years. This astronomical phenomenon occurs when the Moon passes between the Sun and the Earth while orbiting the planet. As the Moon blocks out the light from the Sun, a shadow falls across our planet, creating a temporary darkness – even in the middle of the day.
Around the world, at least two solar eclipses occur every year. The majority of these, however, are only partial eclipses. As the name suggests, these partial events are when the Earth, the Moon and the Sun do not exactly align. As a result, the Moon blocks only a portion of the Sun’s light, resulting in a less-than-total blackout.