Scientists Respond to the Total Solar Eclipse on Twitter

Near total eclipse
The moon passes in front of the sun at the point of the maximum partial solar eclipse near Banner, Wyoming today (Aug. 21). (Image credit: Joel Kowsky/NASA)

For a few surreal minutes across a narrow strip of the United States, the sun was completely blocked by the moon today (Aug. 21). This amazing astronomical event was highly anticipated by scientists, many of whom spend their lives studying the science behind it.

From sheer awe to Pac-Man jokes, here are some of the scientists' reactions on Twitter to the Great American Solar Eclipse.

Awe and beauty

Most scientists in the path of totality captured stunning shots of the total eclipse. Eric Christian, a research scientist at NASA, captured a stunning shot of the eclipse at totality using a handheld camera.

Michio Kaku, a theoretical physicist at the City University of New York, was in the path of totality in Missouri and had this to say:

The eclipse left at least a few scientists at a loss for words. Mike Brown, a physicist at the California Institute of Technology who's most famous for demoting Pluto from its planet status, had just this to say:

Other scientists, like theoretical physicist Brian Greene, didn't quite make it to the path of totality. But he was able to capture some great shots, thanks to a colander:

Triumph for science

Neil deGrasse Tyson, a notable astronomer and science popularizer, couldn't resist putting up this downer factoid in the days before the eclipse. Way to kill people's excitement, NdGT!

Others, like U.K.-based biologist Richard Dawkins, used the eclipse as an excuse to note science's achievements.

Still others, however, went for a more universal and inspiring response:

Humorous responses

Some scientists tied the eclipse to the current political situation, if obliquely, by noting that President Donald Trump was photographed squinting directly at the sun without eclipse glasses.

The moon, ostensibly tweeting from the Twitter handle @NASAMoon, displayed gleeful enjoyment at finally eclipsing the sun.

Michael Mann, a climate scientist at Pennsylvania State University, used the eclipse as an excuse to have a bit of fun.

Originally published on Live Science.

Tia Ghose
Managing Editor

Tia is the managing editor and was previously a senior writer for Live Science. Her work has appeared in Scientific American, and other outlets. She holds a master's degree in bioengineering from the University of Washington, a graduate certificate in science writing from UC Santa Cruz and a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. Tia was part of a team at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that published the Empty Cradles series on preterm births, which won multiple awards, including the 2012 Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism.