Smarter Every Day: Watch For Shadow Snakes! [VIDEO]

There are some very strange phenomenon that you should be watching for during the eclipse. Ever heard of shadow snakes? They’re a real thing, made by the Sun and the Moon, and they’re only view-able for a few seconds.

The YouTube channel Smarter Every Day and it’s science enthusiast host Desten Sandlin talked to Dr. Gordon Telifan who has traveled the world and seen more solar eclipses than any other human, ever. He’s so familiar to eclipses, that NASA calls him when another eclipse is on the way.

In the video below, Dr. Gordon explains that while eclipses happen several times a year, total eclipse, like the one coming to Idaho, are very rare. When they do happen it is usually in a place that most people can’t reach. The video also explains why not all eclipses are total eclipses. Being on the edge of the eclipse will only allow you to see the event for a few moments. Then the moon moves away. Being on the center line, like in East Idaho, will allow you to see it for several minutes plus another strange phenomenon.

He then tells us that while the eclipse is happening, watch for “shadow bands.” The moon will bend the sun’s light. Shadows will appear on the ground that look like snakes slithering around. At 16:26 in the video you will hear the explanation of “shadow snakes” and when they happen. So, remember on eclipse day, don’t just look up. Look down, and around.


He’s also developed a very cool app, The Solar Eclipse Timer. It is definitely worth the $2! Learn more and download the app here.

Here’s the video! Take a look and watch out for shadow snakes on August 21st!

And here’s a longer discussion with Desten and Dr. Gordon: