Solar Eclipse 2017: When, where, time and why is it unusual
The total Solar Eclipse 2017 will take place today. "The Great American Eclipse" will cast a shadow over the whole country, moving diagonally from Oregon in the northwest to South Carolina in the southeast.
This is the first eclipse to pass over the United States in the 21st century. It is the first total eclipse on American soil since 1991, when one was visible from the Big Island of Hawaii. These total eclipses happen every 12 to 18 months somewhere in the world, often over the open ocean since most of the Earth is covered by water.
What time can you watch the total solar eclipse 2017
There are many ways to safely view an eclipse of the sun including direct viewing - which requires some type of filtering device and indirect viewing where you project an image of the sun onto a screen. Both methods should produce clear images of the partial phase of an eclipse.
This event is a solar eclipse in which the moon passes between the sun and Earth and blocks all or part of the sun for up to about three hours, from beginning to end, as viewed from a given location. For this eclipse, the longest period when the moon completely blocks the sun from any given location along the path will be about two minutes and 40 seconds. The last time the contiguous U.S. saw a total eclipse was in 1979.
How to see solar eclipse 2017 be seen
Everyone in North America plus parts of South America, Africa, and Europe will see at least a partial solar eclipse, while the thin path of totality will pass through portions of 14 states. You could check out this interactive eclipse map from NASA to see the solar eclipse 2017.
You can see a partial eclipse, where the moon covers only a part of the sun, anywhere in North America. To see a total eclipse, where the moon fully covers the sun for a short few minutes, you must be in the path of totality. The path of totality is a relatively thin ribbon, around 70 miles wide, that will cross the U.S. from West to East. The first point of contact will be at Lincoln Beach, Oregon at 9:05 a.m. PDT. Totality begins there at 10:16 a.m. PDT. Over the next hour and a half, it will cross through Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and North and South Carolina. The total eclipse will end near Charleston, South Carolina at 2:48 p.m. EDT. From there the lunar shadow leaves the United States at 4:09 EDT. Its longest duration will be near Carbondale, Illinois, where the sun will be completely covered for two minutes and 40 seconds.
Why is this total solar eclipse unusual
Today's eclipse is special because that it will cut diagonally across the entire United States. The path of totality where day briefly becomes night will pass over Oregon, continuing through the heartland all the way to Charleston, South Carolina. Those on the outskirts well into Canada, Central America and even the top of South America - will be treated to a partial eclipse.