A great question! The Moon does indeed “carry” its shadow along with it, as it moves in its orbit around the Earth.
And whenever that shadow happens to scrape across the Earth, we have a total eclipse! (Of course, you have to be in the Path of Totality to see the total eclipse, and you have to use eye protection whenever the eclipse is not total – regardless of whether you’re in the path or not!)
Because of the geometry of the Earth’s shape, the shadow will travel faster across its surface and the ends of the eclipse path, and slowest right in the middle. By using one of the best eclipse calculators out there (thanks to Xavier Jubier!), we can see that the Moon’s shadow (also called the “Umbra”) is moving:
- 2410mph in Western Oregon
- 1747mph in central Nebraska
- 1462mph in Western Kentucky
- 1502mph near Charleston SC
Make sure you are in the path on eclipse day! And we’ll see you… in the shadow!