Eclipses explainedUSA 2017

10 facts about the Total Solar Eclipse on August 21, 2017

From where the Moon shadow will engulf to how fast the Moon shadow to moves, here’s everything you wanted to know about the Great American Eclipse

On August 21, 2017 the Moon’s shadow will take 90 minutes to cross the USA, touching 14 US States.


The Path of Totality is around 70 miles wide, but eclipse-chasers need to gather at its centreline; the further you go south or north of the centreline, the shorter the Totality.


It’s the first Total Solar Eclipse in the continental US for 38 years , since February 26, 1979.


So intense is the Sun’s light that the difference between a 100% and 99.9% partial eclipse is huge; only during a 100% eclipse is the solar corona visible.


People all over continental USA – as well as in Mexico, Canada and in the Caribbean – will be able to view a partial solar eclipse. New York City and Los Angeles will see a 71% and 68% eclipsed Sun, respectively, while Denver and Seattle will both get a 92% ‘deep partial’ eclipse.


When it hits land at Oregon the Moon’s umbral shadow will be travelling at 2,955mph, slowing to 1,462mph in western Kentucky, which therefore has a longer period of Totality.


The Moon-shadow splits Kansas City and St Louis, Missouri in two; eclipse-chasers will need to move north from Kansas City and south from St Louis to see Totality.

8 estimates that South Carolina will be the busiest place on August 21, with 2 million people expected to travel down Interstate 95, which stretches from New England to Florida. The tiny village of Santee is where I-95 hits the centerline.


Observers at Blue Sky Vineyard near Makanda, Illinois, will get the longest Totality at 2 minutes, 41.6 seconds. The same area gets another eclipse on April 8, 2024.


The biggest city crossed by the Path of Totality is Nashville, Tennessee, population 1.8 million.

Photo credit: Rick Fienberg / TravelQuest International / Wilderness Travel