Solar eclipse, August 21, 2017
Time lapse video of eclipse shadow
On August 21st, the United States will experience its first total solar eclipse since 1979, and its first solar eclipse to cross the entire continental U.S. since 1918. The eclipse will begin at 10:15am (PDT) on the west coast and end at 2:45pm (EDT) on the east coast, occurring over the United States for approximately 90 minutes. Depending on your location, the total eclipse will be viewable for a little over 2 minutes and 40 seconds.
For more information on the solar eclipse, visit NASA's Eclipse 2017 webpage.
The path of the solar eclipse is about 70 miles wide and stretches diagonally across the U.S. from northern Oregon to South Carolina. Viewing the eclipse within this path will allow you to see the total solar eclipse, but the further you are from the path of totality, the bigger the fraction of the sun you will see during the phenomenon. In some regions of the U.S., the portion of the sun eclipsed by the moon could be as little as 50%.
The path of totality will occur in 14 states: Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Below is a chart created by NASA of some cities that are in the line of that path and will be able to view the eclipse in totality:
UW Space Place also put together a chart showing the solar eclipse time, duration, and percentage of sun covered for some major Wisconsin cities:
Here is an example of a solar eclipse from last year covering the Pacific:
Below is an animation of images captured of this February’s solar eclipse in the Southern Hemisphere:
A CIMSS Satellite Blog post from 14 August 2017 indicates that the polar-orbiting satellite "Suomi NPP will be well-positioned to observe a snapshot (with excellent spatial resolution) of the umbral shadow of this eclipse".
Weather always plays a factor in viewing an eclipse. Visit NOAA's historical cloudiness map to check the likelihood of clear skies in your viewing area, and be sure to monitor your local weather as the date approaches on the National Weather Service's eclipse page.
Watching the eclipse in the Madison, WI area
Please remember that viewing the solar eclipse through improper eyewear (which includes anything that was not designed specifically for staring at the sun) will cause irreparable damage to your eyes. Public libraries across the country have teamed up with the Moore Foundation and Google to provide free protective glasses that can be used to view the eclipse. The following public libraries in our area are offering free eclipse-viewing glasses at educational events:
- Middleton Public Library
7pm, August 17, The Great American Solar Eclipse of 2017
- Oregon Public Library
6:30pm, August 16, Solar Eclipse: What is it?
- Waunakee Public Library
6:30pm, August 14, The Great American Eclipse
- Rosemary Garfoot Public Library
6:30 pm, August 17, The Great American Eclipse
- Alicia Ashman Library
11:45am, August 21, Solar Eclipse Activities
The following public libraries will be offering free eclipse-viewing glasses at non-eclipse events or upon request:
- Alicia Ashman Public Library
- Sequoya Public Library
- Sun Prairie Public Library
There are also a couple of viewing parties taking place in Madison for the solar eclipse. Two public libraries, Waunakee Public Library and Middleton Public Library, will each be hosting viewing parties just outside their libraries and will offer more free eclipse-viewing glasses. Waunakee's party will begin at 12pm and Middleton's will begin at 11:45am.
Be sure to also check in with the SSEC's social media on August 21st to view the GOES-16 imagery of the Earth during the solar eclipse.