Coming Soon: The Great American Eclipse

On Monday, August 21, 2017 a solar eclipse will approach Oregon’s coast around 9 a.m. and reach totality by approximately 10:16 a.m., Pacific Time. The ‘Path of Totality’ arcs across the 48 states (CONUS), until approximately 5:04 p.m., Eastern Time.

Skies will darken along the Path that is 60 – 70 miles wide. Weather permitting and with essential protective eye gear, viewers close to the center line of the path will be able to watch as the orbiting moon travels between the earth and sun, completely blocking the sun’s image for about two minutes.

“The Great American Eclipse” is so named because the Path of Totality extends from the West to East Coasts. June 8, 1918, 99 years ago, was the last time a total eclipse was visible across the U.S. However, the rest of the world will see only a partial eclipse.

The Path shown below, from starting point to finish moves across Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Great Smokey Mountain National Park, and South Carolina.

The green “GE” indicates the greatest eclipse point just north of Hopkinsville, Kentucky at 36.97 N and 87.67 W. The red marker “GD” shows the greatest duration point – a few miles south of Carbondale, Illinois at 37.58 N and 89.11 W.

Five state capitals will experience totality: Salem, Oregon; Lincoln, Nebraska; Jefferson City, Missouri; Nashville, Tennessee, and Columbia, South Carolina.

St. Joseph, Missouri, on the center line of the Path, will have 2 min 39 sec of visibility; one of the places with the longest duration. A viewing party at the Rosecrans Memorial Airport is being organized. With speakers lined up and solar telescopes on site, viewers will have the ideal choice to be in the company of astronomers for the special event.

(See for information about other eclipse-watching events and to shop for protective eyeglasses.)

Depending on the distance of their locations from the center line, viewers in areas beyond the 60-70 mile wide perimeter may have a partial view.

For example, Warsaw, Mo. is outside the totality path, able to view only a partial eclipse beginning at 11:43 a.m., and reaching maximum intensity at 1:12 p.m.

Jane J. Lee’s article for National Geographic on November 2, 2013, “Solar Eclipse Myths from Around the World,” included an informative 4-minute video (click on photo).

Solar Eclipse 101

North American eclipses occurring in the 21st century on April 8, 2024 and August 12, 2045 are among the several already mapped for enthusiasts and eclipse chasers at

Worldwide eclipses from 2011 through 2060 are mapped out as well; along with a link to a gallery of eclipses from 1651 to 2150.

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