What happens in the ocean during a solar eclipse?

Monday, September 11, 2017 by Ciera Akins

Back in August, on the 21st, there was a historical solar eclipse. This means that the moon temporarily blocks the sun as it is traveling between the Earth and the sun, but how much the sun is covered and how long depends on where you are in the country. It was the first time in 99 years that all lower 48 states, coast to coast, were  in the shadow of the moon temporarily. Maine was not in the path of totality, meaning we didn’t see the moon go completely over the sun, but it was still visible and very exciting. But have you ever wondered what happens in the ocean during a solar eclipse?

The largest migration of animals on Earth actually happens every day, below the surface of the sea. Plankton, fish, jellyfish, shrimp and more that hang out in the deep ocean during the day actually migrate up to the surface when the sun goes down and then migrate back to the depths when the sun rises. For a long time scientists wondered if it was really the sun that was dictating the migration of these animals or whether it was their internal biological clock telling them to rise or fall. Since scientists couldn’t alter the sunrise to solve this mystery, they instead went out to sea to see what all of these animals did during a solar eclipse. It turns out the animals really do respond to the sun, because while the moon went over the sun and dimmed the light on Earth, millions of animals swam up from the depths of the ocean. As soon as the moon receded and the sun’s light revealed itself again, the animals quickly swam back down to the darkness.

If you want to read more about this, here’s the article from Deep Sea News: http://www.deepseanews.com/2017/08/what-happens-in-the-sea-during-a-solar-eclipse/

What happens in the ocean during a solar eclipse?


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