Witness the Total American Solar Eclipse on 21st Aug 2017


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Solar eclipse of August 21, 2017

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Solar eclipse of August 21, 2017
2017 Total Solar Eclipse (NHQ201708210100).jpg

Totality as seen from Salem, Oregon

Type of eclipse
Nature Total
Gamma 0.4367
Magnitude 1.0306
Maximum eclipse
Duration 160 sec (2 m 40 s)
Coordinates 37°N 87.7°W
Max. width of band 115 km (71 mi)
Times (UTC)
(P1) Partial begin 15:46:48
(U1) Total begin 16:48:32
Greatest eclipse 18:26:40
(U4) Total end 20:01:35
(P4) Partial end 21:04:19
Saros 145 (22 of 77)
Catalog # (SE5000) 9546
File:Greenville SC 2017 eclipse totality time-lapse.webm

A time-lapse video of Falls Park on the Reedy in Greenville, South Carolina during totality

On Monday, August 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse, frequently referred to as the “Great American Eclipse“, was visible within a band across the entire contiguous United States passing from the Pacific to the Atlantic coasts. In other countries, it was visible only as a partial eclipse.[1][2]

solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between Earth and the Sun, thereby totally or partly obscuring the image of the Sun for a viewer on Earth. A total solar eclipse occurs when the Moon’s apparent diameter is larger than the Sun’s, blocking all direct sunlight, turning day into darkness. Totality occurs in a narrow path across Earth’s surface, with the partial solar eclipse visible over a surrounding region thousands of kilometers wide.

The previous time a total solar eclipse was visible across the entire contiguous United States was June 8, 1918; not since the February 1979 eclipse has a total eclipse been visible from anywhere in the mainland United States.[3] The path of totality touched 14 states, although a partial eclipse was visible in all 50 states.[3] The area of the path of totality was about 16% of the area of the United States,[4] although most of this area is ocean, not land. The event’s shadow began to cover land on the Oregon coast as a partial eclipse at 4:05 p.m. UTC (9:05 a.m. PDT), with the total eclipse beginning there at 5:16 p.m. UTC (10:16 a.m. PDT); the total eclipse’s land coverage ended along the South Carolina coast at about 6:44 p.m. UTC (2:44 p.m. EDT).[3]Visibility as a partial eclipse in Honolulu, Hawaii began with sunrise at 4:20 p.m. UTC (6:20 a.m. HST) and ended by 5:25 p.m. UTC (7:25 a.m. HST).[5]

Logistical problems were expected with the influx of visitors, especially for smaller communities.[6][7] The sale of fake eclipse glasses was also anticipated to be a problem.[8][9]

Future total solar eclipses will cross the United States in April 2024 (12 states) and August 2045 (10 states), and annular solar eclipses—wherein the Moon appears smaller the Sun—will occur in October 2023 (9 states) and June 2048 (9 states).


Animation of the shadow created by the August 2017 eclipse wherein the tiny black dot represents totality

Animation of the shadow created by the August 21, 2017 total solar eclipse with sun and moon zenith position indicated by yellow and grey lines.

The total eclipse had a magnitude of 1.0306 and was visible within a narrow corridor 70 miles (110 km) wide, crossing fourteen of the contiguous United StatesOregonIdahoWyomingMontanaIowaKansasNebraskaMissouriIllinoisKentuckyTennesseeGeorgiaNorth Carolina, and South Carolina.[10][11] It was first seen from land in the U.S. shortly after 10:15 a.m. PDT (17:15 UTC) at Oregon’s Pacific coast, and then it progressed eastward through Salem, OregonIdaho Falls, IdahoCasper, WyomingLincoln, NebraskaKansas City, MissouriSt. Louis, MissouriHopkinsville, KentuckyNashville, TennesseeColumbia, South Carolina about 2:41 p.m.;[12] and finally Charleston, South Carolina. A partial eclipse was seen for a greater time period, beginning shortly after 9:00 a.m. PDT along the Pacific Coast of Oregon. Weather forecasts predicted clear skies in Western U.S. and some Eastern states, but clouds in the Midwest and East Coast.[13]

The longest ground duration of totality was 2 minutes 41.6 seconds at about 37°35′0″N 89°7′0″W in Giant City State Park, just south of Carbondale, Illinois, and the greatest extent (width) was at 36°58′0″N 87°40′18″W near the village of Cerulean, Kentucky, located in between Hopkinsville and Princeton.[14] This was the first total solar eclipse visible from the Southeastern United States since the solar eclipse of March 7, 1970. Two NASA WB-57F flew above the clouds, prolonging the observation time spent in the umbra.[15]

A partial solar eclipse was seen from the much broader path of the Moon‘s penumbra, including all of North America, northern South AmericaWestern Europe, and some of Africa and north-east of Asia.

Related eclipses over the United States

This was the first total solar eclipse visible from the United States since that of July 11, 1991[16]—which was seen only from part of Hawaii[17]—and the first visible from the contiguous United States since 1979.[18]

The path of totality of the solar eclipse of February 26, 1979 passed only through the states of WashingtonOregonIdahoMontana, and North Dakota. Many visitors traveled to the Pacific Northwest to view the eclipse, since it was the last chance to view a total solar eclipse in the contiguous United States for almost four decades.[19][20]

Some American scientists and interested amateurs seeking to experience a total eclipse participated in a four-day Atlantic Ocean cruise to view the solar eclipse of July 10, 1972 as it passed near Nova Scotia (which is referenced in the Carly Simon hit song “You’re So Vain” in the lyric, “Then you flew your Lear Jet up to Nova Scotia to see the total eclipse of the sun”). Organizers of the cruise advertised in astronomical journals and in planetarium announcements emphasizing the lack of future total eclipses observable in the U.S. until this 2017 event.[21]

Detailed map of the path in the United States

The August 2017 eclipse was the first with a path of totality crossing the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of the U.S. since 1918. Also, its path of totality makes landfall exclusively within the United States, making it the first such eclipse since the country’s independence in 1776. The path of totality of the eclipse of June 13, 1257, was the last to make landfall exclusively on lands currently part of the United States.[22]

The path of this eclipse crosses the path of the upcoming total solar eclipse of April 8, 2024, with the intersection of the two paths being in southern Illinois in Makanda Township at Cedar Lake just south of Carbondale. An area of about 9,000 square miles, including the cities of Makanda, Carbondale, Cape Girardeau, Missouri, and Paducah, Kentucky, will thus experience two total solar eclipses within a span of less than seven years.[citation needed]

The solar eclipse of August 12, 2045 will have a very similar path of totality over the U.S., about 400 km (250 mi) to the southwest, also crossing the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of the country; however, duration of totality will last over twice as long.[23]

An eclipse of comparable length (up to 3 minutes, 8 seconds, with the longest eclipse being 6 minutes and 54 seconds) occurred over the contiguous United States on March 7, 1970 along the southern portions of the Eastern Seaboard, from Florida to Virginia.[24]

Total eclipse viewing events

NASA TV‘s live coverage was being watched by 4.4 million people at 1:40 EDT, accounting for 87% of all traffic to U.S. federal government websites

During total eclipse the stars and 4 planets were visible, including the star Regulus close to the Sun. Marswas 8 degrees to the right, and Venus 34 degrees right. Mercury was 10 degrees left, and Jupiter 51 degrees left.


A viewing party was held at the Chabot Space and Science Center.

As seen from Mission StreetSan Francisco


Viewers watching the eclipse at Oregon State University.

2017 solar eclipse totality over Timothy Lake, Oregon


The independent bookstoreRediscovered Books in Boise, Idaho, touts the 2017 solar eclipse in a retail example of science outreach.

  • Craters of the Moon – The National Monument and Preserve hosted NASA presentations, evening star parties hosted by the Idaho Falls Astronomical Society, high altitude balloon launches by the USC Astronautical Engineering department and NASA, and presentations by the New Mexico Chapter of the Charlie Bates Solar Astronomy Project.[31]
  • Idaho Falls – Free entertainment and educational seminars and an eclipse-watching event at the Museum of Idaho (an official NASA viewing site) and elsewhere, and a free eclipse-watching event at Melaleuca Field.[32][33]
  • Rexburg – Brigham Young University Idaho offered a series of eclipse-related educational events.[34]
  • Weiser – The city sponsored a five-day festival prior to the eclipse.[35]


  • Casper – The Astronomical League, an alliance of amateur astronomy clubs, held its annual Astrocon conference,[36] and there were other public events, called Wyoming Eclipse Festival 2017.[37]
  • Fort Laramie – Fort Laramie held an eclipse viewing event, which included a Special “Great American Eclipse” Program.[38]



  • Kansas City – A 5-mile (8 km) bicycle ride from downtown KCMO (where totality only lasted about 30 seconds) to Macken Park in North Kansas City (where totality lasted 1 minute 13 seconds) was organized by KC Pedal Party Club, a local Meetup group.[44]
  • Columbia – The COSMO Park and the GANS CREEK Park are open for the eclipse.[45] For the Students of the University of Missouri-Columbia there is a watch party on the campus.[46] and the MU Health care has also released eye safety info.[47]
  • Lathrop – The city celebrated its 150th anniversary with an eclipse festival.[48]
  • Parkville – TotalEclipseofthePark – August 20 educational program featuring NASA Glenn Research Center Hall of Famer Lynn Bondurant, ’61, and August 21 watch party organized by Park University.[49]
  • St. Clair – An event organized by the St. Clair City Chamber of Commerce.[50]
  • St. Joseph – An event organized by Front Page Science was held at Rosecrans Memorial Airport.[51]



  • Atchison – Benedictine College hosted thousands in its football stadium. There were students from schools from Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma attending, plus numerous other guests who heard from, amongst others, astronomers from the Vatican Observatory.[57]

Photographing his first eclipse, Madisonville, KY



North Carolina

  • Bryson City – Planetarium shows were offered, as well as rides on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad to an eclipse location.[68]
  • Rosman – Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute (PARI) hosted a viewing event. The event at PARI has garnered international attention and the visitors included amateur astronomers.


South Carolina

Viewing from outside the United States

The boundaries of the sunset partial eclipse in Western Europe. Calculation with EclipseDroid with atmospheric refraction.


A partial eclipse was visible across the width of Canada, ranging from 89% in Victoria, British Columbia to 11% in Resolute, Nunavut.[76]

Mexico, Central America, Caribbean islands, South America

A partial eclipse was visible from Central AmericaMexico, the Caribbean islands, and ships and aircraft in and above the adjacent oceans.[77] On the other hand, just the northern countries of South America such as ColombiaVenezuela, and several others received a partial view of the eclipse.


A partial eclipse was visible only in the Chukchi Peninsula (with about ~40%).

West Africa

In some locations in West Africa and western North Africa, a partial eclipse was seen just before and during sunset.


In northwestern Europe, the eclipse was only visible partially, in the evening or at sunset. Only those in Iceland, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and the Portuguese Azores archipelago saw the eclipse from beginning to end; in the rest of the UK, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Spain and Portugal, sunset occurred before the end of the eclipse. In Germany, the beginning of the eclipse was visible just at sunset only in the extreme northwest of the country. In all regions east of the orange line in the map, the eclipse was not visible.[78]

Media coverage

A large number of media outlets broadcasted coverage of the eclipse, including television and internet outlets. NASA announced plans to offer streaming coverage through its NASA TV and NASA Edge outlets, using cameras stationed on the ground along the path of totality, along with cameras on high-altitude balloons, jets, and coverage from the International Space Station; NASA stated that “never before will a celestial event be viewed by so many and explored from so many vantage points—from space, from the air, and from the ground.”[79] ABCCBS, and NBC announced that they would respectively broadcast live television specials to cover the eclipse with correspondents stationed across the path of totality, along with CNNFox News ChannelScience, and The Weather Channel. The PBS series Nova presented streaming coverage on Facebook hosted by Miles O’Brien, and air a special episode chronicling the event—”Eclipse Over America”—later in the day (which will mark the fastest production turnaround time in Nova history).[80][81]

Other institutions and services also announced plans to stream their perspectives of the eclipse, including the Exploratorium in San Francisco, the Elephant Sanctuaryof HohenwaldSlooh, and The Virtual Telescope Project. The Eclipse Ballooning Project, a consortium of schools and colleges that sent 50 high-altitude balloons into the sky during the eclipse to conduct experiments, provided streams of footage and GPS tracking of its launches [79][82]

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