Millions of Americans put everything on pause on Aug. 21, shamelessly slapped on some very creative eyewear, and peered up at the sky to experience what was the first-ever coast-to-coast solar eclipse since 1918.
While most of us were looking upward to gaze upon something historic, many of us missed crescent-shaped shadows appearing below our feet. These shadows occurred because, according to the University of Illinois, the tiny gaps that are in the leaves from trees act as multiple pinhole cameras, projecting the sun’s image on the ground.
As the sun is more than halfway covered, the color of the sky becomes a lighter shade of blue, and shadows that are on the ground become sharper as the noticeable size of the sun shrinks. While this is happening, the gaps in the shadows will start to look weird, and that’s why if you were looking at the leaves you noticed the crescent shapes in the shadows.
For those who failed to noticed the unique shadows, Twitter and Facebook users captured the magical scenery and uploaded the images to social media so we could all witness the beautiful designs.
Fun with crescent shadows. pic.twitter.com/gJoPkYalu3— Matt Pearce (@mattdpearce) August 21, 2017
Trees making the BEST eclipse shadows pic.twitter.com/MavvTxoZ9w— Glenn Gadbois (@ggadbois) August 21, 2017
The countdown until the next total eclipse on April 8, 2024, has already begun.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst