Solar eclipse of August 21, 2017

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Solar eclipse of August 21, 2017
The solar eclipse during totality, seen from outside Crowheart, Wyoming; the photograph uses exposure bracketing to show both the Sun's corona and the surface features of the new moon itself, illuminated by earthshine. A few solar prominences are visible around the lunar limb.
Type of eclipse
Maximum eclipse
Duration160 sec (2 m 40 s)
Coordinates37°00′N 87°42′W / 37°N 87.7°W / 37; -87.7
Max. width of band115 km (71 mi)
Times (UTC)
(P1) Partial begin15:46:48
(U1) Total begin16:48:32
Greatest eclipse18:26:40
(U4) Total end20:01:35
(P4) Partial end21:04:19
Saros145 (22 of 77)
Catalog # (SE5000)9546

The solar eclipse of August 21, 2017, dubbed the "Great American Eclipse" by some media,[1] was a total solar eclipse visible within a band that spanned the contiguous United States from the Pacific to the Atlantic coasts. It was also visible as a partial solar eclipse from as far north as Nunavut in northern Canada to as far south as northern South America. In northwestern Europe and Africa, it was partially visible in the late evening. In northeastern Asia, it was partially visible at sunrise.

Video of the eclipse second contact in Simpsonville, South Carolina. Crowd reaction is heard on audio.

Prior to this event, no solar eclipse had been visible across the entirety of the United States since June 8, 1918; not since the February 1979 eclipse had a total eclipse been visible from anywhere in the mainland United States.[2] The path of totality touched 14 states, and the rest of the U.S. had a partial eclipse.[2] The area of the path of totality was about 16 percent of the area of the United States,[3] with most of this area over the 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).[2] 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).[4]

This total solar eclipse marked the first such event in the smartphone and social media era in America. Information, personal communication, and photography were widely available as never before, capturing popular attention and enhancing the social experience. The event was received with much enthusiasm across the nation; people gathered outside their homes to watch it, and many parties were set up in the path of the eclipse. Many people left their homes and traveled hundreds of miles just to get a glimpse of totality, which few ever get to experience. Marriage proposals were timed to coincide with the eclipse, as was at least one wedding.[5][6] Logistical problems arose with the influx of visitors, especially for smaller communities.[7] The sale of counterfeit eclipse glasses was also anticipated to be a hazard for eye injuries.[8]

Future total solar eclipses will cross the United States on April 8, 2024 (12 states), August 23, 2044 (2 states), and on August 12, 2045 (10 states), and annular solar eclipses—wherein the Moon appears smaller than the Sun—will occur in October 2023 (9 states) and June 2048 (9 states).


Time-lapse footage of Falls Park on the Reedy in Greenville, South Carolina during the eclipse
Video of shadow bands on the ground as seen in Simpsonville, South Carolina.

The total eclipse had a magnitude of 1.0306 and was visible within a narrow corridor 70 miles (110 km) wide, crossing 14 of the contiguous United States: Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.[9][10] It was first seen from land in the U.S. shortly after 10:15 am PDT (17:15 UTC) at Oregon's Pacific coast, and then it progressed eastward through Salem, Oregon; Idaho Falls, Idaho; Casper, Wyoming; Lincoln, Nebraska; Kansas City, Missouri; St. Louis, Missouri; Hopkinsville, Kentucky; and Nashville, Tennessee; before reaching Columbia, South Carolina about 2:41 pm;[11] and finally Charleston, South Carolina. A partial eclipse was seen for a greater time period, beginning shortly after 9:00 am 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.[12]

Animation of the eclipse shadow: The dot in the center represents the path of totality.
View of the lunar shadow tracking across Earth from the Deep Space Climate Observatory satellite

The longest ground duration of totality was 2 minutes 41.6 seconds at about 37°35′0″N 89°7′0″W / 37.58333°N 89.11667°W / 37.58333; -89.11667 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 / 36.96667°N 87.67167°W / 36.96667; -87.67167 near the village of Cerulean, Kentucky, located in between Hopkinsville and Princeton.[13] This was the first total solar eclipse visible from the Southeastern United States since the solar eclipse of March 7, 1970. Two NASA WB-57Fs flew above the clouds, prolonging the observation time spent in the umbra.[14] A partial solar eclipse was seen from the much broader path of the Moon's penumbra, including all of North America, particularly areas just south of the totality pass, where the eclipse lasted about 3–5 hours, northern South America, Western Europe, and some of Africa and north-east Asia.

At one location in Wyoming, a small group of astronomers used telescopic lenses to photograph the sun as it was in partial eclipse, while the International Space Station was also seen to briefly transit the sun.[15] Similar images were captured by NASA from a location in Washington. (See Gallery – partial eclipse section).

Other celestial bodies[edit]

During totality, stars and four planets were visible.
Solar eclipse and star system Regulus (upper left) viewed from Cullowhee, North Carolina

During the eclipse for a long span of its path of totality, several bright stars and four planets were visible. The star system Regulus was almost in conjunction with the Sun. Mars was 8° to the right, and Venus 34° right. Mercury was 10° left, and Jupiter 51° left.[16]

Other eclipses over the United States[edit]

This was the first total solar eclipse visible from the United States since that of July 11, 1991[17]—which was seen only from part of Hawaii[18]—and the first visible from the contiguous United States since 1979.[19] 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.[20]

The path of totality of the solar eclipse of February 26, 1979 crossed only the states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and North Dakota. Many enthusiasts traveled to the Pacific Northwest to view the eclipse, since it would be the last chance to view such an eclipse in the contiguous United States for almost four decades.[21][22]

The path of totality across 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 the solar eclipse of 1918. Also, its path of totality made landfall exclusively within the United States, making it the first such eclipse since the country's declaration of independence in 1776. Prior to this, 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.[23]

The path of the 2017 eclipse crosses with 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 (23,000 km2), 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.[24] The cities of Benton, Carbondale, Chester, Harrisburg, Marion, and Metropolis in Illinois; Cape Girardeau, Farmington, and Perryville in Missouri, as well as Paducah, Kentucky, will also be in the path of the 2024 eclipse, thereby earning the distinction of witnessing two total solar eclipses in seven years.

The solar eclipse of August 12, 2045, will have a very similar path of totality over the U.S. to the 2017 eclipse: about 400 km (250 mi) to the southwest, also crossing the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of the country; however, totality will be more than twice as long, and it will be seen not only in the United States. It will be seen in the Americas.[25]

Total eclipse viewing events[edit]


Viewing the eclipse at Oregon State University
Campers on a field near Madras, Oregon, three days before the eclipse (Friday, August 18, 2017)
Totality over Timothy Lake, Oregon
Diamond ring effect and some prominences at the end of totality in Oregon


Total eclipse from Weiser, Idaho
  • Arco – High altitude balloon launches by the USC Astronautical Engineering department and NASA.[36]
  • Craters of the Moon – The National Monument and Preserve hosted NASA presentations, evening star parties hosted by the Idaho Falls Astronomical Society, and presentations by the New Mexico Chapter of the Charlie Bates Solar Astronomy Project.[36]
  • 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.[37][38]
  • RexburgBrigham Young University Idaho offered a series of eclipse-related educational events.[39]
  • Weiser – The city sponsored a five-day festival prior to the eclipse.[40]


People watching and photographing the eclipse in Yellowstone National Park
  • Casper – The Astronomical League, an alliance of amateur astronomy clubs, held its annual Astrocon conference,[41] and there were other public events, called Wyoming Eclipse Festival 2017.[42]
  • Fort Laramie – Fort Laramie held an eclipse viewing event, which included a Special "Great American Eclipse" Program.[43]
  • Riverton – The biggest Polish expedition conducted as the Great Expedition of Polish Society of Amateur Astronomers was flocked between Riverton and Shoshoni in the central line of totality.[44]


Visitors and residents gather to observe the eclipse in Ravenna, Nebraska.
A crowd observes the eclipse in Ravenna, Nebraska
Approximately a minute before totality (Western Nebraska)
During totality (Western Nebraska)


  • 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.[52]



Man watching the total solar eclipse at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois


An eclipse photographer in Madisonville, Kentucky


Totality from Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville, Tennessee
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

North Carolina[edit]


South Carolina[edit]

Viewing from outside the United States[edit]

Boundaries of the sunset partial eclipse in Western Europe


A partial eclipse was visible across the width of Canada, ranging from 89 percent in Victoria, British Columbia to 11 percent in Resolute, Nunavut.[86] In Ottawa, viewing parties were held at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum.[87] In Toronto, viewing parties were held at the CNE and the Ontario Science Centre.[88]

Mexico, Central America, Caribbean islands, South America[edit]

A partial eclipse was visible from Central America, Mexico, the Caribbean islands, and ships and aircraft in and above the adjacent oceans,[89] as well as the northern countries of South America such as Colombia, Venezuela, and several others.[9]

On the Caribbean Sea, Bonnie Tyler performed her 1983 song Total Eclipse of the Heart live with the pop group DNCE on board the cruise ship Oasis of the Seas, as the ship entered the eclipse's totality path, east of The Bahamas.[90][91]

Asian Russia[edit]

A partial eclipse was visible during sunrise or morning hours in Russian Far East (including Severnaya Zemlya and New Siberian Islands archipelagos).[92][93] For big cities in Russia, the maximal obscuration was in Anadyr, and it was 27.82%.[94]


In northwestern Europe, a partial eclipse was visible in the evening or at sunset. Only those in Iceland, Ireland, Scotland and the Portuguese Azores archipelago saw the eclipse from beginning to end; in Wales, England, 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 on the map, the eclipse was not visible.[95]

West Africa[edit]

In some locations in West Africa and western North Africa, a partial eclipse was seen just before and during sunset.[9] The most favorable conditions to see this eclipse gained the Cape Verde Archipelago with nearly 0.9 magnitude at the Pico del Fogo volcano.

Media and scientific coverage[edit]

The Moon's umbra, as seen from the International Space Station

A large number of media outlets broadcast 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."[96] ABC, CBS, 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 CNN, Fox News Channel, Science, and The Weather Channel. The PBS series Nova presented streaming coverage on Facebook hosted by Miles O'Brien, and aired a special episode chronicling the event—"Eclipse Over America"—later in the day (which marked the fastest production turnaround time in Nova history).[97][98]

Other institutions and services also announced plans to stream their perspectives of the eclipse, including the Exploratorium in San Francisco, the Elephant Sanctuary of Hohenwald, Tennessee, the Slooh robotic telescope app, 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.[96][99] Contact with one balloon with $13,000 of scientific equipment, launched under the aegis of the LGF Museum of Natural History near Vale, Oregon, was lost at 20,000 feet (6,100 m). Given that the balloon was believed to have burst at 100,000 feet (30,000 m), it could have parachuted down anywhere from eastern Oregon to Caldwell, Idaho (most likely) to Sun Valley, Idaho; a $1,000 reward is offered for its recovery.[100]

The National Solar Observatory organized Citizen CATE volunteers to man 60 identical telescopes and instrumentation packages along the totality path to study changes in the corona over the duration of the eclipse.

In orbit, the satellites Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, the International Space Station, the Solar Dynamics Observatory, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, and Hinode gathered data from the eclipse.[101]

A viewing party was held at the White House, during which President Donald Trump appeared on the Truman Balcony with First Lady Melania Trump. With the sun partially eclipsed, President Trump looked briefly in the general direction of the sun before using solar viewing glasses.[102]

The eclipse generated reports of abnormal behavior in animal and plant life. Some chickens came out from beneath their coops and began grooming, usually an evening activity. Horses displayed increased whinnying, running, and jumping after the event. Cicadas were reported to grow louder before going silent during totality. Various birds were also observed flying in unusually large formations. Flowers such as the Hibiscus closed their petals which typically happens at night, before opening again after the solar event.[103]

Pornhub, a pornographic video-sharing website provided an unusual sociological and statistical report: its traffic dropped precipitously along the path of totality, so much so that its researchers were themselves surprised.[104]

NASA reported over 90 million page views of the eclipse on its websites, making it the agency's biggest online event ever, beating the previous web traffic record about seven times over.[105]

Counterfeit eclipse glasses[edit]

In the months leading up to the eclipse, many counterfeit glasses were put up for sale. Effective eclipse glasses must not only block most visible light, but most UV and infrared light as well. For visible light, the user should only be able to see the Sun, sunglint reflected off shiny metal, halogen bulbs, the filament in unfrosted incandescent bulbs, and similarly intense sources. Determining whether the glasses effectively block enough UV and infrared light requires the use of spectrophotometer, which is a rather expensive piece of lab equipment.[8][106]

The eye's retina lacks pain receptors, and thus damage can occur without one's awareness.[107][108]

The American Astronomical Society (AAS) said products meeting the ISO 12312-2 standard avoid risk to one's eyes and issued a list of reputable vendors of eclipse glasses. The organization warned against products claiming ISO certification or even citing the same number, but not tested by an accredited laboratory. Another problem was counterfeits of reputable vendors' products, some even claiming the company's name such as with American Paper Optics which published information detailing the differences between its glasses and counterfeits.[109][107]

Andrew Lund, the owner of a company which produces eclipse glasses, noted that not all counterfeit glasses were necessarily unsafe. He stated to Quartz that the counterfeits he tested blocked the majority of harmful light spectrum, concluding that "the IP is getting ripped off, but the good news is there are no long-term harmful effects."[106] As one example, the Springdale Library in metropolitan Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, accidentally passed out dozens of pairs of counterfeit eclipse glasses, but as of August 23 had not received any reports of eye damage.[110]

On July 27, 2017, Amazon required all eclipse viewing products sold on its website have a submission of origin and safety information, and proof of an accredited ISO certification. In mid-August 2017, Amazon recalled and pulled listings for eclipse viewing glasses that "may not comply with industry standards" and gave refunds to customers who had purchased them.[111][8]

Camera equipment damage[edit]

Lensrentals, a camera rental company based in Tennessee, reported that many of its customers returned cameras and lenses with extensive damage. The most common problem reported was damage to the camera's sensor. This most often happens when shooting in live view mode, where the sensor is continuously exposed to the eclipse image and becomes damaged by the sun's light. Another problem was the heat and brightness of the eclipse destroying the lens iris, which mechanically regulates the amount of light that enters the camera. Another problem reported was one of a cinema camera's neutral-density filter being damaged by the heat and light of the eclipse. The cost of all of this damage likely amounted to thousands of dollars.[112]


A variable-message sign on U.S. Route 64 in North Carolina, alerting drivers of the eclipse

Officials inside and near the path of totality planned – sometimes for years – for the sudden influx of people.[113] Smaller towns struggled to arrange viewing sites and logistics for what could have been a tourism boom or a disaster.[114]

In the American West, illegal camping was a major concern, including near cities like Jackson Hole, Wyoming.[7] Idaho's Office of Emergency Management said Idaho was a prime viewing state, and advised jurisdictions to prepare for service load increases; nearly every hotel and motel room, campground, and in some cases backyards for nearly 100 miles (160 km) north and south of the path of totality had been reserved several months, if not years, in advance.[115] The state anticipated up to 500,000 visitors to join its 1.6 million residents.[116]

Oregon deployed six National Guard aircraft and 150 soldiers because the influx of visitors coincided with the state's fire season.[117] Hospital staffing, and supplies of blood and anti–snake bite antidote, were augmented along the totality line.[118]

Also in Oregon, there were reports of hoteliers canceling existing reservations made at the regular market rate and increasing their rate, sometimes threefold or more, for guests staying to view the eclipse.[119] The Oregon Department of Justice (DOJ) investigated various complaints and reached settlements with affected customers of at least 10 hotels in the state.[120] These settlements included refunds to the customers and fines paid to the DOJ.[121]

Post-eclipse traffic problems[edit]

Although traffic to areas within the path of totality was somewhat spread out over the days prior to the eclipse,[122] there were widespread traffic problems across the United States after the event ended. Michael Zeiler, an eclipse cartographer, had estimated that between 1.85 million and 7.4 million people would travel to the path of the eclipse.[123]

In Oregon, because an estimated one million people were expected to arrive, the Oregon National Guard was called in to help manage traffic in Madras along US 26 and US 97.[124] Madras Municipal Airport received more than 400 mostly personal planes that queued for hours while waiting to leave after the eclipse.[125]

Officials in Idaho, where the totality path crossed the center of the state, began planning for the eclipse a year in advance. The state Transportation Department suspended construction projects along Interstate 15, which traverses Eastern Idaho, from August 18–22 in order to have all lanes open;[126] their counterparts in neighboring Utah, where many were expected to travel the 220 miles (350 km) north via the highway from the Salt Lake City metropolitan area, did the same. On the morning of the eclipse, many drivers left before dawn, creating traffic volume along I-15 normally not seen until morning rush hour; northbound traffic on the interstate in Box Elder County north of Salt Lake City slowed to 10–15 miles per hour (16–24 km/h).[127] The Idaho State Police (ISP) stationed a patrol car along I-15 every 15 miles (24 km) between Shelley and the Utah border.[128]

A road with vehicles of various types stopped on it, all facing right, stretching out over a grassy, flat landscape away from the viewer, getting farther away to the left. In the foreground is a dirt road and fence
Traffic backed up on I-15/US 26 south of Idaho Falls

After the eclipse, traffic more than doubled along I-15 southbound, with extensive traffic jams continuing for eight hours as viewers who had traveled north into the totality path from Utah returned there and to points south. The ISP tweeted a picture of bumper-to-bumper traffic stalled on the interstate just south of Idaho Falls. Motorists reported to local news outlets that it was taking them two hours to travel the 47 miles (76 km) from that city to Pocatello to the south, a journey that normally takes 45 minutes.[127] Others reported that it took three hours to travel from Idaho Falls to the closer city of Blackfoot, 30 miles (48 km) farther north of Pocatello.[129]

In the rest of the state the impact was less severe. Traffic nearly doubled on US 93, and was up 55 percent on US 20.[130]

For some northbound travelers on I-15, the Montana Department of Transportation had failed to make similar plans to those in Idaho, scheduling a road construction project to begin on August 21 that narrowed a section of the highway to a single northbound lane, near the exit to Clark Canyon Dam south of Dillon. Though that stretch of highway generally has a traffic count of less than 1,000 vehicles per day, on the day of the eclipse there were over a thousand vehicles per hour at peak times. As a result, traffic backed up as far as Lima, creating a delay of at least an hour for travelers heading northward. Further, as construction had not yet begun, drivers observed cones set up but no workers present on the road. While the state traditionally halts construction projects during high traffic periods, a state official admitted "we ... probably made a bad mistake here in this regard."[122]

A roadway curving slightly to the right around some tall trees with cars stopped on it. To its right midway through the image a white on green sign says "Glendo, Population 205, Elevation 4718
Traffic waiting to get on Interstate 25 at Glendo, Wyoming, after the eclipse

In Wyoming, estimates were that the population of the state, officially 585,000, may have doubled or even tripled, with traffic counts on August 21 showing 536,000 more cars than the five-year average for the third Monday in August; a 68 percent increase. One official offered an estimate of "two people in every car" to arrive at a one-million-visitor figure, and others noted that one million was a conservative estimate based on a one-day traffic count of limited portions of major highways. There were additional arrivals by aircraft, plus travelers who arrived early or stayed for additional days.[131] Two days before the eclipse, traffic increased 18 percent over a five-year average, with an additional 131,000 vehicles on the road.[132] Sunday saw an additional 217,000-vehicle increase.[131]

Following the eclipse, more than 500,000 vehicles traveled Wyoming roads, creating large traffic jams, particularly on southbound and eastbound highways.[133] Drivers reported that it took up to 10 hours to travel 160 miles (260 km) into northern Colorado.[131] There was one traffic fatality,[134] and another fatality related to an off-highway ATV accident, but in general there were far fewer incidents and traffic citations than authorities had anticipated.[135]

Traffic at a ramp to Interstate 75 near Sweetwater, Tennessee

In Tennessee, the Knoxville News Sentinel described the traffic problems created by the eclipse as the worst ever seen in that part of the state. One backup along Interstate 75 reached 34 miles (55 km) in length, between Niota and the Interstate 40 interchange at Farragut. A spokesman for the state's Department of Transportation allowed that the traffic jams were the worst he had seen in six and a half years on the job, noting that accidents had aggravated the already heavy traffic flows, attributed the I-75 congestion to Knoxville-area residents heading for the totality path at Sweetwater and returning during what was the city's normal afternoon rush hour.[136]

Before the eclipse, state officials had described their traffic expectations as equivalent to that generated by the Bonnaroo Music Festival, the twice-a-season NASCAR Cup Series races at Bristol or the formerly-held Boomsday fireworks festival. "Maybe they should have considered a tsunami of traffic combining all three of those heavily attended events", the News Sentinel commented. The Tennessee Highway Patrol made sure that "[e]very trooper not on sick leave or military leave or pre-approved leave [wa]s working" the day of the eclipse; the state DOT made sure its full complement of emergency-aid HELP trucks were available as well. Alert signs on the highways also warned motorists not to pull over onto the shoulders to watch the eclipse as it could increase the risk of dangerous accidents and block the path of emergency vehicles.[136]

In North Carolina, the Department of Transportation added cameras, message boards and safety patrols in the counties where the total eclipse would take place, as well as stopping road work. The department warned that due to "unprecedented" traffic ordinary activities requiring driving might prove difficult, and advised people to act as if there were snow.[137]

In Kentucky, particularly around the Hopkinsville area, which was dubbed "Eclipseville, USA",[138] post-eclipse traffic caused extensive delays. The en masse departure of tourists via Interstate 69 as well as the Western Kentucky Parkway resulted in commute times double or even triple of normal.[139][140] The Hopkinsville-to-Lexington commute under normal circumstances lasts three and a half hours.

Impact on solar power[edit]

An eclipse causes a reduction of solar power generation where the Moon shadow covers any solar panel, as do clouds.

The North American Electric Reliability Corporation predicted minor impacts,[141] and attempted to measure the impact of the 2017 eclipse.[142] In California, solar power was projected to decrease by 4–6,000 megawatts[143] at 70 MW/minute, and then ramp up by 90 MW/minute as the shadow passes. CAISO's typical ramp rate is 29 megawatts per minute.[144] Around 4 GW mainly in North Carolina and Georgia were expected to be 90 percent obscured.[143]

After the 2017 eclipse, grid operators in California reported having lost 3,000–3,500 megawatts of utility-scale solar power, which was made up for by hydropower and gas reliably and as expected,[145][146] mimicking the usual duck curve. Energy demand management was also used to mitigate the solar drop,[147] and NEST customers reduced their demand by 700 MW.[148]

NV Energy prepared for the solar eclipse months in advance and collaborated with 17 western states. When the eclipse began covering California with partial darkness, which reduced its usual amount of solar-generated electricity, NV Energy sent power there. Likewise, when Nevada received less sunlight, other west coast states supplied electricity to it. During the solar eclipse, the state of Nevada lost about 450 megawatts of electricity, the amount used by about a quarter million typical residences.

The 2015 eclipse caused manageable solar power decreases in Europe;[149] in Germany, solar power dropped from 14 GW to 7 GW, of a 38 GW solar power capacity.[150]

Commemorative stamp[edit]

On June 20, 2017, the USPS released the first application of thermochromic ink to postage stamps in its Total Eclipse of the Sun Forever stamp to commemorate the eclipse.[151][152] When pressed with a finger, body heat turns the dark image into an image of the full moon. The stamp was released prior to August 21, so uses an image from the eclipse of March 29, 2006 seen in Jalu, Libya.[152]




(Images where the sun is completely eclipsed by the moon)


(Images showing Baily's beads or a Diamond ring, which occur just as totality begins or ends)


(Images where the sun is partially eclipsed by the moon)

Images produced by natural pinholes[edit]

(Images of the eclipse created by natural pinholes formed by tree leaves)

Views outside of the US[edit]

Related eclipses[edit]

Occurring only 3.2 days after perigee (Perigee on Friday, August 18, 2017), the moon's apparent diameter was larger during the total solar eclipse on Monday, August 21, 2017.

There was another solar eclipse in 2017, a large annular solar eclipse (99.223%) on February 26.

Eclipses of 2017[edit]

Solar eclipses ascending node 2015–2018[edit]

Astronomers Without Borders began collecting eclipse glasses for redistribution to Latin America for the total solar eclipse occurring on July 2, 2019, and to Asia for the annular eclipse on December 26, 2019.[153]

A partial lunar eclipse took place on August 7, 2017, in the same eclipse season. It was visible over Africa, Asia, Australia, and eastern Europe.


Half-Saros cycle[edit]


Solar Saros 145[edit]


Solar eclipses 2015–2018[edit]

This eclipse is a member of a semester series. An eclipse in a semester series of solar eclipses repeats approximately every 177 days and 4 hours (a semester) at alternating nodes of the Moon's orbit.[154]

Solar eclipse series sets from 2015–2018
Ascending node   Descending node
Saros Map Gamma Saros Map Gamma

Longyearbyen, Svalbard
2015 March 20

0.94536 125

Solar Dynamics Observatory

2015 September 13

Partial (south)

Balikpapan, Indonesia
2016 March 9

0.26092 135

L'Étang-Salé, Réunion
2016 September 1


Partial from Buenos Aires
2017 February 26

−0.45780 145

Casper, Wyoming
2017 August 21


Partial from Olivos, Buenos Aires
2018 February 15

Partial (south)
−1.21163 155

Partial from Huittinen, Finland
2018 August 11

Partial (north)

Partial solar eclipses on July 13, 2018, and January 6, 2019, occur during the next semester series.

Saros series 145[edit]

This solar eclipse is a part of Saros cycle 145, repeating every 18 years, 11 days, 8 hours, containing 77 events. The series started with a partial solar eclipse on January 4, 1639, and reached a first annular eclipse on June 6, 1891. It was a hybrid event on June 17, 1909, and total eclipses from June 29, 1927, through September 9, 2648. The series ends at member 77 as a partial eclipse on April 17, 3009. The longest eclipse will occur on June 25, 2522, with a maximum duration of totality of 7 minutes, 12 seconds. All eclipses in this series occurs at the Moon's ascending node.

Series members 10–32 occur between 1801 and 2359
10 11 12

April 13, 1801

April 24, 1819

May 4, 1837
13 14 15

May 16, 1855

May 26, 1873

June 6, 1891
16 17 18

June 17, 1909

June 29, 1927

July 9, 1945
19 20 21

July 20, 1963

July 31, 1981

August 11, 1999
22 23 24

August 21, 2017

September 2, 2035

September 12, 2053
25 26 27

September 23, 2071

October 4, 2089

October 16, 2107
28 29 30

October 26, 2125

November 7, 2143

November 17, 2161
31 32 33

November 28, 2179

December 9, 2197

December 21, 2215
34 35 36

December 31, 2233

January 12, 2252

January 22, 2270
37 38 39

February 2, 2288

February 14, 2306

February 25, 2324

March 8, 2342

Inex series[edit]

This eclipse is a part of the long period inex cycle, repeating at alternating nodes, every 358 synodic months (≈ 10,571.95 days, or 29 years minus 20 days). Their appearance and longitude are irregular due to a lack of synchronization with the anomalistic month (period of perigee). However, groupings of 3 inex cycles (≈ 87 years minus 2 months) comes close (≈ 1,151.02 anomalistic months), so eclipses are similar in these groupings.

Metonic series[edit]

The metonic series repeats eclipses every 19 years (6939.69 days), lasting about 5 cycles. Eclipses occur in nearly the same calendar date. In addition, the octon subseries repeats 1/5 of that or every 3.8 years (1387.94 days). All eclipses in this table occur at the Moon's ascending node.

21 eclipse events, progressing from south to north between June 10, 1964, and August 21, 2036
June 10–11 March 27–29 January 15–16 November 3 August 21–22
117 119 121 123 125

June 10, 1964

March 28, 1968

January 16, 1972

November 3, 1975

August 22, 1979
127 129 131 133 135

June 11, 1983

March 29, 1987

January 15, 1991

November 3, 1994

August 22, 1998
137 139 141 143 145

June 10, 2002

March 29, 2006

January 15, 2010

November 3, 2013

August 21, 2017
147 149 151 153 155

June 10, 2021

March 29, 2025

January 14, 2029

November 3, 2032

August 21, 2036

See also[edit]

Notable total solar eclipses crossing the United States from 1900 to 2050:

Notable annular solar eclipses crossing the United States from 1900 to 2050:


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Further reading[edit]

  • Bakich, Michael E. (2016). Your Guide to the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse. The Patrick Moore Practical Astronomy Series. New York, NY: Springer. ISBN 978-3-319-27630-4.

External links[edit]