Pacific Science Center

Bringing science to life.


PacSci-Doku: “All American Total Solar Eclipse”

By Dennis Schatz – Senior Advisor

Do you Sudoku? It’s one of the hottest number games around! Well, here’s a twist we think you’ll love. We call it PacSci-Doku. Can you guess why? Here’s how it works. Instead of filling in the blanks with numbers, we use letters. Hidden in one of the columns or rows is the answer to a science question. You’ll find information about the answer on the answer tab below.

The question in this edition is:

What must occur between the Sun and Moon to have a solar eclipse?

To find the answer, complete this PacSci-Doku using the following nine letters:

A  E  I  N  n  L  T  M  G

PacSci-Doku: All American Total Solar Eclipse

The Puzzle

Puzzle Difficulty: Medium

The Solution
PacSci-Doku: All American Total Solar Eclipse Answer

The Solution

The question in this edition is:

What must occur between the Sun and Moon to have a solar eclipse?

The answer: Alignment

On Monday, August 21, 2017, the entire United States will be treated to the first total eclipse of the Sun visible in the continental U.S. in almost 40 years. Because the total eclipse can only be seen in the U.S., it is being called the “All American Total Solar Eclipse.” This kind of eclipse occurs when the Earth, Moon and Sun are perfectly in alignment with each other and the Moon moves in front of the Sun to block the Sun’s light.

The spectacular total eclipse, where the Sun is fully covered, will only be visible in a narrow band about 60-70 miles across, stretching diagonally across the country from a beach in Oregon to a beach in South Carolina. However, everyone in North America will see a partial solar eclipse, where a big “bite” will be taken out of the Sun.

To get up to speed on the full eclipse story, you will want to download the free 8-page, non-technical Eclipse Guide published by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA). This covers what causes eclipses, where and when you can see it in August, and how to observe it safely.

For explaining eclipses to children, you will want to consider ordering a copy of When the Sun Goes Dark, also published by NSTA Press.