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Eclipse Q&A with Bill Nye - What does syzygy mean?

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Syzygy may sound like a made-up word, but it's actually a term for when three objects line up in space. When those objects are the Sun, Moon, and Earth, you get an eclipse! More eclipse info:


“Hey, Bill, what is this “syzygy” word I keep hearing?”

A really fun word we get to use when an eclipse happens is syzygy. Syzygy. Syzygy! Syzygy is a word you can use when any three objects line up in space. It could be the Sun, Venus, and the Earth, for example. That's a type of syzygy that does not produce an eclipse on Earth because Venus is just too far away from us for it to cover much of the Sun.

Instead, we call that a transit of Venus. Lucky for us, we have this big, beautiful moon. Now, when it's closer to the Earth, and there's syzygy, the Moon blocks the Sun completely and it gets completely dark where you are. Right there. See that? That's a solar eclipse. Syzygy!

It's going to be a totally awesome total eclipse. We'll see you out there.